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'The Collection' Movie Review

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

By

'The Collection' movie poster.
© LD Entertainment
Movie sequels seem to rarely exceed the original, but The Collector set the bar so low, it's hard to imagine a sequel that wouldn't be an improvement. The Collection, though, still manages to surprise by delivering a final product that's not just less awful than its predecessor, but is wildly enjoyable in its own right.

The Plot

When last we saw petty thief Arkin O'Brien (Josh Stewart), he had been captured by a sadistic masked serial killer with a habit of "collecting" one victim per crime scene and, for some reason, transporting them to his next murder spree. As such, Arkin finds himself locked in a trunk in the back room of a night club while the Collector butchers everyone in sight. Everyone, that is, except Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick), the hearing-impaired daughter of a wealthy businessman (Christopher McDonald) who hears Arkin in the trunk and sets him free.

Arkin manages to escape, but Elena ends up taking his place in the trunk, and when the police drag their feet, the girl's father gets his right-hand man Lucello (Lee Tergesen) to convince Arkin to lead a team of mercenaries to the killer's hideout, an abandoned hotel. After breaking in, Arkin is eager to split, but Lucello forces him to lead them through the booby-trapped maze of hallways and rooms in hopes of finding Elena alive. But the Collector is watching their every move and has a few surprises up his sleeve.

The End Result

Josh Stewart in 'The Collection'.

Josh Stewart in 'The Collection'.

© LD Entertainment
The Collection is a welcome shift away from The Collector's bleak, overly serious "torture porn" mentality into more of a freewheeling slasher mode. Its plot is admirably simple, and it moves at a breakneck pace that doesn't allow us to dwell on the plot shortcomings (Why don't they just call the cops? And, as with the first movie, why the heck does the killer lug a previous victim to the next crime scene?). It's more cartoonish than the first film, and that's a good thing, imbuing the sequel with a much-needed sense of fun.

Although Elena's handicap (which never really factors into the plot, rendering it pointless) is supposedly something of a nod to the classic Audrey Hepburn thriller Wait Until Dark, The Collection more overtly channels the spirit of '80s slice 'n dicers like Friday the 13th. The gore is plentiful, and the makeup effects are refreshingly old school (read: no CGI).

The nature of the story removes much of the frustratingly nonsensical angle of the first movie -- namely, taking the time to rig up traps in a victim's house versus doing it in your hideout -- while Dunstan's direction is much less obtrusive and affected. Thankfully, rather than assault our senses with "edgy" shots and music as he did he last go-round, he lets the action speak for itself, building steadily to a rousing climax that, unlike many horror movies, has you actually caring about what happens to the main characters.

The Skinny

  • Acting: C+ (Above-average genre performances.)
  • Direction: B- (Thankfully more subtle.)
  • Script: C+ (Pretty shallow and has its share of jumps in logic, but it's so fun and frenetic, you look past its faults.)
  • Gore/Effects: B (Old school gore and makeup effects.)
  • Overall: B- (An energetic throwback slasher that helps establish what could a 21st century horror icon.)

The Collection is directed by Marcus Dunstan and is rated R by the MPAA for strong bloody violence, grisly images, language and brief nudity. Release date: November 30, 2012.

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