Did you guys see The Collector? No? Well, dammit, why the fuck not? It wasn’t necessarily an amazing movie or anything, but pretty entertaining, especially for a lower budget, more independent film. This movie, The Collection, is the sequel to The Collector! Would you believe that?! In case you don’t know what the previous movie was about and you’re too lazy to click that link to my review of it, I’ll give you a little background information. A guy, known as The Collector, booby traps a house that a burglar is trying to break into, and all the booby traps are designed to wound/maim/kill someone. The burglar avoids some of those traps, but at the end of the movie he is thrown into a trunk by The Collector, similar to a trunk we see earlier on in the film. The biggest strength of that movie were the gruesome traps and special effects, but not necessarily the story. Lucky for us, The Collection invested just enough more into the story to make for a pretty entertaining sequel that just might be better than its predecessor. I’m going to be talking about the ending, so if you have any interest in seeing the movie, just stop reading right now and come back to this review once you’ve seen it. If you don’t come back and read this though, I’m going to be SUPER PISSED.
Despite all the news broadcasts about a killer being on the loose, Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick) decides to go out to a nightclub with her friends. Shortly after arriving at the club, we see that the entire club was boobytrapped by the killer from the previous film, and when Elena opens a trunk she finds in a backroom, Arkin (Josh Stewart) from the previous movie falls out of it. Oh yeah, and this sets off a bunch of spinning death blades that kills basically everyone in the entire club. Elena is captured by the killer but Arkin manages to escape, and while receiving treatment in the hospital, a friend of Elena’s family offers Arkin an opportunity to find the killer and clear his name of all his legal and financial trouble. Arkin agrees and leads a team into the killer’s abandoned hotel where the team encounters lots of traps intended to maim and kill unwanted intruders. Whether it be people drugged out of their minds who seem to have turned into zombies or all sorts of sharp, metal instruments, there are lots of things the team needs to avoid. Elena is able to escape from the trunk in which she’s being held, so most of the film is kind of a three-way game of cat and mouse, with Arkin looking for Elena, Elena looking for a way out, and the killer trying to make sure everybody dies. When Arkin and the other members of the team find Elena, they end up locked and cornered in a room, but Arkin uses a gun to fire a few shots out of the hotel, causing police to come investigate. With the killer realizing the trouble he’s in, he starts setting the place on fire, leaving Arkin and Elena to die. Arkin is able to confront the killer and set him on fire, leaving him for dead, right as the fire department gets into the hotel. As bodies are being pulled from the hotel, Arkin notices that the killer’s mask is laying in one of the trunks, indicating that the killer made it out alive and the movies fades to black. BUT WAIT! We then see a guy entering his apartment, and without ever seeing his face, we see Arkin put a gun to this guy’s head. Arkin tracked down the bad guy! Arkin then tosses the bad guy in a trunk and locks it, and THEN the movie is over. OR IS IT?! Yeah, it is.
I’m no scientician, but I’m not sure this anatomy is correctamundo.
I’M SO GLAD THE MOVIE ENDED THAT WAY! When I thought the movie was going to end with Arkin seeing the mask, alluding to another installment in the franchise, I was pretty annoyed. I know that the original film was intended to be a prequel to the Saw movies, so I understood why they had made it more open-ended. Also, I felt like the way the original film ended, with Arkin getting tossed in the trunk, was just an easy way to try to make that movie feel more “bleak” or “edgy”. Okay, fine, whatever. With The Collection, it felt like writer/director Marcus Dunstan had a different, more unique approach to the whole story and movie making process. Rather than making the movie in hopes of it leading to bigger things, it felt like Dunstan realized the success of his first film, recognized that he might only get one shot at creating a sequel that had a much higher budget, and went all out with the story, as well as provided closure for the fans of his first film. We were given more information about who the “Collector” was, as well as what his “collection” entailed, without being given some sort of forced, detailed background for the character. We learned in the first movie that the Collector was a guy who knew a lot about bugs, so when Arkin and Elena are exploring the abandoned hotel, we see that the collection was a series of human bodies that he had modified to resemble insects in macabre installations. However, that’s still pretty much all we know about the guy, and there isn’t some sort of forced reveal to try to make the person responsible be some arbitrary background character. We never see his face, never really know why he does what he does, and in theory, we’ll never hear from that character again. I don’t think that we’ll see a sequel, but if there is another film, I feel like they’d either establish a new person as the killer (perhaps Arkin, which would be LAME) or possibly do a prequel.
Still not really sure what this mask is. It looks like someone bought it at a bondage factory but then tossed it in a fire. Or maybe it burned from sex friction.
Even though I liked the movie as a whole, or at least enjoyed the places it went as compared to the original, the movie wasn’t without its flaws. The first film established Arkin as being a burglar, so it made sense that he had some sort of mechanical instincts that would allow him to do things like pick locks. In a scene where Elena escapes from a trunk, she manages to take off her bra and part of her shirt to stick through a hole in the trunk to unlatch herself, despite never establishing how the fuck she’d be able to do that so easily. Also, it’s made clear that Elena has a hearing aid, and it’s something that’s brought up multiple times, yet other than one scene that involves the hearing aid falling out and landing on a bear trap, it seems completely irrelevant to the plot. Throughout most of the movie, you kind of have to suspend your disbelief that this would never happen anywhere in the world in any possible way. For example, the fact the police don’t really get involved in the murder of dozens upon dozens of people and instead a ragtag group of people manipulate the only individual who had interacted with the Collector and live to tell about it is pretty ridiculous. Or maybe the fact that Arkin was able to locate EXACTLY where the hotel was after having cut into his own arm every time he counted to 100 and noted every right or left turn that the van took while he was locked in a trunk? Huh? Whatever, I guess whatever nonsense you need to come up with to justify the story. Most of those issues are things that I’m willing to let slide, because the ends justify the means. I did enjoy that the abandoned hotel was named “Hotel Argento”, an obvious nod to director Dario Argento, and one scene that involves Arkin trying to use a broken arm to open a latch that he’s trapped in, so despite its flaws, there’s still a lot of good stuff in here. If you liked the first movie, I’m sure you’ll like this one as well, since it’s a lot of the same stuff, but you feel a more genuine closure to the plot and still a good amount of violence and gore that was so enjoyable in the first film.
Wolfman Moon Scale