Ok, hear me out people, because I know what you’re thinking. “Another ‘torture porn’ knock-off written by the dudes who scripted half the Saw franchise, following their lesser known effort The Collector? The Collection is probably just another way for Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan to re-invent their Saw mentality and cash in on a sub-genre with huge money potential, selling out to achieve the popularity of their former franchise. Oh yeah, Piranha 3DD sucked. There’s no hope.”
And I get your sentiment. I get what truths are in place. I’ve swam the endless seas of monotonous Saw rip-off films which completely disregard what made the original Saw popular in the first place, and it’s a rigorous and challenging ocean to traverse. So hard in fact, it seems as if you’re floating helplessly, bobbing up and down amidst red colored liquid, grabbing on to any dismembered body part for a saving flotation device. But what’s this glorious vessel coming straight for you, shining brightly as a savior!? A beacon of hope amongst the bottom-feeders pulling you down?! What’s that written on the side? The Collection? Grab the life raft and come aboard this ultra-violent slaughterhouse adrenaline ride, pushing the boundaries of even the most seasoned horror fans. There’s a reason these sick, twisted f#cks wrote so many Saw films, and although they weren’t cinematically the best films, that’s still a compliment in the horror world.
If you saw The Collector, you’d know the deadly traps our insect-obsessed villain likes to play with, and how poor Arkin (Josh Stewart) gets locked up in a trunk just as the credits roll. Well, this time around our Collector amps the carnage and puzzling set-ups past levels that are dangerous to the weak of heart, racking a body count higher than ten generic slasher films played continuously, and Dunstan accomplishes this feat within a matter of minutes. Once that green light signals “go,” you better be ready. The Collection throttles into gear with breathtaking speed, and NEVER lets down even for a second.
So yeah, the obvious point of attraction here is the horror gore. Seriously, the entire first five rows should wear some kind of plastic covering because Dunstan’s visual spectacle is messier than a Gallagher show where he breaks the world record for watermelons consecutively smashed by one curly-haired freak. The Collector’s hotel of horrors will have fans squirming uncomfortably with glee, as discarded limbs are strewn about like overused Halloween decorations, each room holding a new type of devilish contraption. Everything was so intricately wound, so devastatingly brutal, so blood-splatteringly horrific, so divinely genius, I couldn’t contain my sick excitement every time our characters ventured deeper into the heart of mechanical hell.
Now for the part true gorehounds won’t give a rats ass about, but absolutely the weaker part of the film, our story. It’s inevitable, I mean we needed a reason to re-visit The Collector, and needed a reason to show his home field advantage. So, what we get are some of the weakest excuses for “special operatives” I’ve ever seen, being nothing but empty sacks of flesh thrust forward to an untimely death. There’s no depth in characters, no build up, just tons of killings. Our writers don’t just skimp on characters though, as certain scenes seem to have been only thought out half way, falling into typical horror stereotypes that defy rational logic, even when characters are trapped in a maze of death that defies mental capacity as it is. You’ll be asking yourself a multitude of questions as the plot progresses along, but Dunstan and Melton always have an answer – “BECAUSE HERE’S AN EXPLODING HEAD, THAT’S WHY!” Well played sirs, well-played.
Although, I should recognize Emma Fitzpatrick, our survivor girl type who braves The Collector’s mayhem after being locked up herself, really presenting a strong female presence for audiences to root for. She isn’t your typical blonde bimbo type lead who tries to kill the villain with her drop dead good looks, and don’t get me wrong, Fitzpatrick is a beautiful woman, but just not your typical mainstream horror stereotype – which I absolutely love. Her character Elena is believably tossed about and battered by our masked meanie, avoiding that dumb stereotype where the non-athletic looking co-ed chick can somehow kick the crap out of the six-foot hulk threatening her life, but Elena is also believably badass enough to sack up and attempt to complete the escape at hand. Dare I say she sports an Ellen Ripley type intensity at times?
Josh Stewart also provides the other screen-worthy character, as Arkin shows up to some capacity in the film, but I can’t state why for those fans smart enough to avoid trailers before viewing. I know you’re out there, and I respect your blackout commitment as to not spoil anything, but all in the same, Stewart deserves a shout out and Arkin will definitely be a character I re-visit down the road in some capacity.
Horror fans, I can’t stress this enough – GO SEE THE COLLECTION! Dunstan creates kill sequences that are too mind-blowing and goretastic to miss, and the world he created with Melton rivals every single Saw film they did together. Actually, no, f#ck that, The Collection is hands down better than any Saw sequel the duo penned. Haters need not fear their track record, for they will win your over here, and lovers will leave the theater sporting tears of joy. Hands down one of the best horror films I’ve seen this year, blending serious popcorn action with stomach churning delivery that will probably cause that popcorn you just ingested to quickly make a second appearance.
The Collection is one of those horror films that really makes you sound like a deranged psychopath for recommending, but demands to be spread like a mind-controlling plague. Be warned, for anyone who might interrupt your home viewing will seriously question your mental sanity, so you might not want those you love to know your thoughts on Melton and Dunstan’s film if they’re positive. Sorry mom! *Grins devilishly*
Side note, should I be worried the most skin-crawling part for me was watching tarantulas crawl across a young girl’s face, and not a man breaking his own arm on camera?