The Collection, the truly outrageous follow-up to the 2009 wannabe horror-franchise starter The Collector from Saw alumni Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton. While the first film, inventive as it might have been, was marked by a bit too much sadism, the sequel is a step towards rousing action horror and away from the 2000s’ trend of no-fun torture porn. The series’ villain, one of the only new horror icons in recent years, racks up quite the hefty body count here -- the first 20 minutes alone stand as one of the best bloodbaths seen on the screen in quite some time. One thing is for sure: The Collection isn’t brooding or trying to impress with social commentary. Instead, this is a giddy Grand Guignol-style horror flick for those looking for smoking bullet casings scattered across red pools of nightmare sauce.
The picture opens with pixie-haired beauty Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick) heading out to an exclusive nightclub with her pals, where she finds Arkin (Josh Stewart), a survivor from the first film, locked in a chest in a back room. Upon releasing him, she activates a series of traps that kill nearly everyone at the rave, and is soon swept up by the masked Collector as his newest acquisition. Arkin escapes, but is roped into leading a team of armed men into the madman’s abandoned-hotel hideout in order to save Elena. It doesn’t take long for the team to realize that the psychopath’s lair has more in store for them than just a few traps.
Echoing notorious Chicago serial killer H.H. Holmes, the Collector’s hotel is a madhouse filled with engineered torture mechanisms that allow for a vast array of killing techniques. It helps that the sequel hearkens back to the Aliens mold of bigger and better, even going so far as to ape various roles from that film. While snobbish viewers might take their red pen to this particular homage, others just looking for a fast-paced study in amped-up violence will rejoice in the way the franchise’s world has been opened up here. In the acting department, Fitzpatrick makes for a stunning new scream queen, while Stewart impresses with his unlikely -- and at times, cringe-inducing -- heroics. As if it weren’t apparent before, the end-credits montage of every character’s death scene (a la Final Destination) is proof that The Collection just wants you to have a good, gross time at the movies. While it’s not everyone’s cup of joe, those who like their comedy black and their blood red should be satisfied with every wild scene that Dunstan and Melton have collected here. leave a comment --Jeremy Wheeler