The Collection Review

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Starring : Josh Stewart, Emma Fitzpatrick, Christopher McDonald

Director : Marcus Dunston

Writer : Patrick Melton

2009 saw the release of The Collector, a wonderfully tense and inventive spin on the home invasion genre. It was a labor of love for writer/director team Marcus Dunston and Patrick Melton, who managed on a small budget to create a slick, effective thrill ride of a horror film.

Cut to 2013 and the film’s sequel The Collection still headed by Dunston and Melton has taken a sad departure from the brilliance of The Collector. The style has moved from home invasion to torture porn and it hasn’t survived the journey well. Arkin our surviving hero from the Collector, has been blackmailed into returning to the Collector’s lair with a private security team to help find  a kidnapped girl. Whereas within the first film, the story was grounded very much in morality – Arkin was fighting to save the family from their deadly intruder, the sequel has taken a much, much nastier turn, everyone is out for themselves ; Arkin even uses the body of a dying man to break his fall as he jumps from a window. It could be argued that since his captivity Arkin has hardened and is no longer compassionate but it would be truer to say that the film has hardened, as though the bright eyed filmmakers of the original, got a taste for the audience’s enjoyment of ruthless gore and they have now become just as ruthless in their quest to give it to them.

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Gone are story beats and character motives, they have been replaced by an endless parade of bloody deaths and the tortured, agonizing screams that come with them – creating scenes that are disturbing, upsetting and wholly un-enjoyable to sit through, as well as unnecessary. The bloody gore has been strung up in such a flimsy story – that I would rather watch a 90 minute documentary on the art of horror make up and special effects, than sit through an endless array of sub par actors pantomime death while covered in bloody prosthetic’s.

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As an ‘equal opportunities’ horror reviewer (though a detractor of torture porn due to its far reaching moral implications and clear misogyny) I am not offended by gore, it has its place in horror and does essentially showcase the artistic talents of it’s creators (both makeup and CGI artists) but it needs to be bookended by an enjoyable story and well rounded characters or it appears to be there simply to shock and upset. The film’s total migration to torture porn would perhaps not be so jarring if it were not a sequel to a stellar effort in horror film making which brought class back to bloody horror. The film seems to carry the mistaken view that ‘bigger is better’ and has lost the tension that its predecessor gained in having the story be based entirely within one house.

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Where the Collector was a rare respite from The Saw sequels torture tinged saturation of the horror market , The Collection could have a giant Roman numeral stamped on its ass and join the assembly line of Saw rehashes, very disappointing (Dunston and Melton did work on four of the Saw sequels, so this could be seen as lazy back sliding)  . If only this film could herald the end of faceless omnipotent psychopaths, that would be wonderful because they have become such blatantly obvious stand ins for some sort of vox pop analysis of the human psyche ; ‘the silent faceless figure that could be our own dark desires personified’ , enough already! Somebody please restore back story and motive to the genre! The film does somewhat rescue itself with a satisfyingly resolved ending but the clichés and plot holes that have preceded it wholly negate its benefits.

2 out of 5 stars

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