Our good buddy The Collector (Randall Archer) is back in the sequel to his 2009 namesake. This time around we are headed to his pad, which happens to be a run down hotel. The traps are back and things are bloodier than ever. So does The Collection have what it takes to build on 2009’s interesting slasher? Let’s retract the blades and take a look.
Once again we meet up with Arkin (Josh Stewart), the first film’s only survivor and trophy of our masked maniac. Before we can see how Arkin’s been living we are introduced to Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick), the daughter of rich Mr. Peters (Christopher McDonald), who along with Elena survived a devastating car crash when she was a child. Elena’s boyfriend Brian ditches her for the evening, so we see her friend Missy (Johanna Braddy) coax her into attending an underground dance party instead of staying home.
Somewhat reluctantly Elena agrees and jumps in the car for a night of dancing and fun. Not long into the party Elena discovers a mystical trunk in a spare room and opens it, releasing Arkin, who severely needs medical attention. Before we know it The Collector has arrived at the party and begins to make slight work of the attendees. Elena is captured and trapped in Arkin’s old trunk as he narrowly escapes. Our quasi-hero awakens in a hospital room to Lucello (Lee Tergesen) explaining that his help is needed to get Elena back before it is too late. Against his better judgment Arkin agrees to lead them back to The Collector.
Marcus Dunstan (writer/director) and Patrick Melton (writer) are at the helm again and if you enjoyed the last outing there is plenty here to see. The budget is lower than most blockbusters, but that didn’t damage the last one and doesn’t hurt this film. The choice to shoot this on 35mm does a great job of lending the gritty feel that I really love.
The Collection looks to amp up the blood and guts of the original and it succeeds. If gore is not your thing a Twilight film is still playing in theaters. The splatter comes hot and heavy in this sequel, and most fans will be pleasantly surprised. There is a decent mix of physical effects and CGI. The effects team did a great job of avoiding CGI when it mattered, like spikes pushing slowing through a victims hand.
I do feel like someone heard me complaining about the first movie lacking light. Every other shot was so dark I could not enjoy what was on screen. Have no fear, because the lighting, much like the effects, is pretty spot on.
The first movie used a lot of quick edits or super fast cutting. So anytime there was action on screen the camera was moving so fast it became pure annoyance. Unfortunately this still plagues the series and is all over the place in The Collection. Personally I love a pulled back but focused shot when an action scene is taking place. I want to see everything, not a shot kicking back and forth deciding what I should be seeing.
This movie goes further to separate itself from the Saw series during the 82 minute excursion. I would almost totally forget about Saw, but then the quick editing/fast cutting would kick in. That combined with traps just felt a little too Saw-ish.
If you thought the last movie demanded a suspension of disbelief this one has it beat. I went into this a lot with my review of The Collector so I will not freak out about it again at length. It is safe to say that within the first 20 minutes you will say, “NO FRIGGIN’ WAY” more than a few times. This continued for me throughout the movie. I know some people are great marksmen, but a big caliber hand gun fired a long distance with the intention of a flesh wound is a pretty rare hit on the first shot. I had really hoped this movie would have me pulling the “BS card” a lot less.
Also, in the beginning there is a gore scene that attempts to trump anything out there by way of pure body count. When you go for something so epic early on it will set the pace for all the gore that follows. This scene did go all out, but the effects were very poor. I will not go into detail to avoid spoilers, but with the amount of effects work in this movie why use the cheapest-looking ones first? If they had saved this fake looking mess for later on or opened entirely different we might not be at three brewskis right now.
I really loved the “cat and mouse” between The Collector and victims. The fact that he actively engaged victims this time around really helped to add to the urgency. They do a great job of unveiling just a little bit more of our favorite trap maniac without giving too much away. The traps are a lot more creative here and even bring living elements into the fray. The movie may have slowed a little in the middle, but it is definitely worth viewing.
Take a Drink: anytime you praise the lighting over the first movie’s hardcore darkness.
Chug a beer: each time you’re creeped out by something in our killer’s home.
Do a Shot: if you can find anyone who was in Point Break.