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The Collection Isn’t Nearly As Fun As Its Predecessor

The Collection
Directed by Marcus Dunston
Written by Dunston and Patrick Melton
LD Entertainment, 2012

The Collection follows The Collector, which came out in 2009 and proceeded to make around $8 million in the States and about $10 million total worldwide.  Now, maybe it cleaned up on the video market, but when The Collection started showing trailers I didn’t really make the connection to the previous movie.  I hadn’t heard anybody talk about it in a long time.  Was this necessary?  After watching The Collection, I say not.

The Collector was a somewhat of a surprise.  I actually kind of liked it.  It wasn’t the greatest horror movie, but it had a lot of fun despite a really, really, far-fetched premise.  It came from Project Greenlight winners Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, who saw their Feast movie get made and it translated into them getting to make some of the latter Saw movies.  The Collector began as a prequel to Saw, but that idea was thrown in the wastebasket.  Still, the movies have a lot in common, mostly from the traps and agonizing death.

In The Collection, the news is still abuzz about the killer who came inside somebody’s house and rigged it with all those traps and killed everybody.  Well, almost everybody…in the last film handyman Arkin (Josh Stewart) was taken away in a box and the movie ended.  Now we follow Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick), who is being beckoned by her friends Missy (Johanna Braddy) and Josh (Michael Nardelli) to come out to some secret rave.  We are told that Elena was in a car crash with her dad (Christopher McDonald) back in the day, but really, that whole thing is pointless.  It serves basically one plot point, but it’s unnecessary.

Oh, but wouldn’t you know, The Collector is at the rave!  And he’s set up a nasty surprise for the party-goers.  And after all the bloodletting, Elena escapes the carnage and we’re re-introduced to Arkin, just before Elena gets scooped up by The Collector and taken to a house of horrors rigged with all sorts of booby traps.  With Arkin’s help, a rescue team led by Lucello (Lee Turgesen), Wally (The Wire’s Andre Royo), Lin (Brandon Molale), and Paz (Shannon Kane) try to infiltrate the abandoned asylum The Collector keeps his collection of former human beings, some dead, some not.  One of them even looks like she might not be all that hurt from the experience (Erin Way), but she could be dangerous still.

What follows is the typical lackluster bloodletting.  People get caught in traps or trip-wires or whatever and then horrible metal death rains on them.  Or The Collector comes in and does the job.  What’s weird is that there doesn’t even seem to be as many booby traps in this asylum as there were in the house in The Collector.  The problem with this movie is that everything seems so half-assed all the time.  The traps aren’t all that much fun, and then I started to wonder why The Collector even bothers putting traps in the abandoned asylum no one supposedly knows about.  I mean, I get that this is supposed to be some neverending house of horror, but most of the victims who come here are trapped inside boxes or cages, or are dead, and I’m not sure The Collector was expecting one of his escaped victims to be Liam Neeson and be able to figure out how he got to the asylum even though he was blindfolded.

It’s also one of those movies where you start wondering about other things that normally, you wouldn’t care about in movies but because everything seems to not have a plan, you just shrug and start thinking about it anyway.  This is a supposedly abandoned asylum, but there’s all sorts of power running through this thing.  Lots of light and a security system and cameras.  Seems like word would have gotten around that this asylum was being used for something.

Also, Dunstan messes up one scene that could have been tremendously creepy: when The Collector finds out that Elena has escaped her box, but knows she couldn’t have gone anywhere but somewhere inside the room, he unleashes a great number of tarantulas on the floor to just crawl around and go where they please.  This could have been an ultra-tense scene, where Elena has to stifle screams while tarantulas walk all over her, but Dunstan decides that during this tense scene (where we do indeed see tarantulas start walking all over her), he needs to cut over to Arkin and the rescue team trying to get inside the asylum.  The tension is immediately vanished by the cutting.  A phobic scene turns into an afterthought.

I will say, there is one creative choice at the end that I loved.  It’s actually pretty smart.  I then started to wonder if the idea for the movie came from this one scene: it’s not even a scary moment, it’s just a hero thinking of the right thing to do while the building bursts into flames.  Not surprisingly, it’s used as the actor’s “signature scene” during the picture credits.

Other than that, we have a sequel almost no one asked for, isn’t scary, and is half-baked.

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