What are you to do if you happen to be a hot young rich girl and you don't feel like studying for the big mid-term tomorrow? You hit the secret dance club...that's what you do! Just don't do it in The Collection.
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Lately, I've been craving something different from the usual paranormal/exorcism/ghost films that seem to have been crowding the multiplex lately. I've been really feeling the need for a good old fashioned supervillian vs. mercenary flick. Well, look no further than the new film by writer/director Marcus Dunstan, friends!
The Collection is the sequel to 2009's The Collector...a solid film that felt like it was lacking a certain something at the time. Don't get me wrong...I liked the original installment, I just felt like it wasn't a cohesive film. You might say that it left me wanting more. That said, one could argue, then, that the film did its job of introducing a brand new concept and leaving the viewer thirsty for more. Except, that the first film was flawed in many ways. And while those same flaws are evident in the new sequel, Dunstan does a good job of not giving two fucks about those particular flaws and waving his filmmaking sensibilities all over The Collection...ensuring a decent time for any hardcore horror fan.
The new film continues where the first one left off, introducing new characters at will. And while not being entirely interested in character expositions and shit like that, it sets up every new character in snapshot-like introductions, giving the audience the basic gist of each new character thus moving along the film in record pace. Which is perfectly fine, given some of the poor acting and equally poor dialogue in the film. You see, Marcus Dunstan lives in the moments and really does expert work framing each scene and marking the bullet points so that you get what's going on while moving on to the next thing speedily. Other filmmakers who incorporate the same sort of style could learn a couple things from Dunstan. It's really a film for those lacking attention spans. Sort of like myself these days.
Speaking of new characters, Emma Fitzpatrick plays the hot young rich girl named Elena. And while I could pretty much write a separate review altogether detailing how absolutely hot Fitzpatrick is as well as lamenting on how much I'd love to take her out for ice cream, she really holds her own as a female screen presence. While
stalking researching her, I found that she was in The Social Network and In Time...and I feel ashamed to say that I don't remember her in either film. However, she really makes a name for herself here and every moment she's onscreen I felt mesmerized by her....ummm...performance. Though...if you are reading this, Emma...I know a couple of great ice cream shops here in Chicago ;)
Anyway, Elena is captured by our old friend, the Collector...who, incidentally, looks pretty fucking awesome in this new film. Much more menacing and in control...which, if you remember, is a stark comparison from the first film as he came across a little awkward. Here, you get the sense that if you are ever captured by him...game over. One weird difference (and don't worry, this isn't going into "spoiler" territory) is that he has a full head of hair in this film...where he was completely shaved in the first. I'm not sure it this was an intentional thing or if it was Dunstan showing that he couldn't be bothered by such details. The main point here, though, is that the Collector is a fucking badass in this new film.
So, Elena is captured and her rich daddy sends in a band of adrenaline-pumped mercenaries, led by old friend Lucello (Lee Tergesen), to fuck up the Collector's plans of adding her to his sadistic collection. For continuity purposes, Lucello enlists the help of jewel-thief extraordinaire, Arkin (a serviceable Josh Stewart) to assist the band of adrenaline-pumped mercenaries in finding the Collector's lair. Arkin is a little too clean for my taste, after all that shit that happened to him in the first film. That's the basic idea of The Collection...and for some reason....it all works!
The film is chockful of implausibilities and shit that just doesn't make any sense. However, it's not concerned with any of those things. It only exists for displaying stylized death scenes and gut-wrenching gory fun. I won't spend this review discussing how much better this film could have been if it did this or that...because it is not that kind of film. It's an excessive bloody blast of a movie that doesn't take itself too seriously. I mean...it's got crackedhead zombies in it, for Christ's sake.
I will say that I hope the film does well at the box office. It's pretty much the last big theatrical genre offering of the year and I'd like to see horror go out with a bang. However, I really don't expect a gruesome movie about a sadistic masked dude that goes around capturing innocent people in a trunk to lure in casual horror fans. This one's more for the purists. It's up against that cool-looking Brad Pitt hitman movie and a kids movie about the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus saving the world. So, I don't think it will crack the top 5. It will probably do much better when it hits DVD. Who knows?
In the end...as long as you're not expecting anything cerebral, The Collection is an overall enjoyable action/horror film from the writers of the Saw franchise. It's fine for what it is and fans of the first film will surely embrace this better sequel. It will also get you excited for any further installments with its twist on traditional cliffhanger endings. Good gory fun!
Watch Emma do amazing things with her bra!
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