Review: THE COLLECTION (2012)

Remember the good ol’ days? When you collected stamps, coins, or comics? Sigh.


Directed by: Marcus Dunstan

Stars: Josh Stewart, Emma Fitzpatrick, and Randall Archer

MPAA Rating: R



 In 2009, a small horror film called THE COLLECTOR was released to little fanfare and even less critical praise. It introduced horror audiences to a new killer known simply as The Collector. He finds a group of people, kills them one by one utilizing weapons and overly-elaborate booby-traps that would impress Rube Goldberg, yet takes the final victim for his own to join his “collection.” When beginning his assault on a new group, he will usually leave the previously collected victim in a box as a warning of sorts to them. This film must have resonated with the right people or made enough of a profit because we now have the sequel, THE COLLECTION. Will this film please those fans and possibly garner more?

In THE COLLECTION, the hero from the first film, Arkin, manages to escape the clutches of The Collector as the madman engages in another mass killing, and takes a young woman, Elena, as his latest collected person. Her father hires a band of mercenaries to team up with Arkin, track down The Collector, and bring her back safely. However, they will be on The Collector’s turf. What booby-traps and other assorted horrors await them? And what does he do with the people he collects?

THE COLLECTION is a not a mere rehash of the first film. It takes many of the concepts and ideas from THE COLLECTOR, and significantly expands upon them. If the original film was about the methods, then this one is definitely about the madness. You will be witness to many of the projects The Collector is working on. And few of them are pretty. Also, the scope of the movie is much wider in every respect. The body count is larger, the booby-traps are more elaborate and preposterous then ever, there are more heroes, and the evils that The Collector is perpetrating are more pronounced. Just as with the first film, the events get more far-fetched and campy as the plot plays out. But also like the first film, this one is a lot of fun to watch unfold. There’s a perverse glee to be had in seeing the horrible ways people will die and in what contraptions they will expire. There’s also the constant curiosity of wondering what new horrible deed will be discovered next.

This could all be dismissed as just a disgusting gorefest, however there are two characters worth rooting for in the film. Arkin is just as sympathetic as he was in the original, but now he is expanded to include several heroic moments that keep the audience with him every step of the way. The new addition, Elena, is equally sympathetic and resourceful. She makes an impression, and shows off her own heroics as well. The rest of the cast is fairly generic horror movie fodder, yet none of them come across as overly silly, stupid, or offensive.

As far as the production itself goes, everything is pretty solid. The script won’t win any awards, but it does a good job of expanding the mythology, story, and characters in ways that a good horror sequel should. The directing is satisfactory. There are a few standout shots that would make good publicity photos. The acting is adequate. None of the performances are great, yet none of them are bad either. The set design is very slick, with some ingenious devices and horrifying props. The special make-up effects are terrifically gory and gruesome. The soundtrack is hit-and-miss. Sometimes, the songs really click and match the energy onscreen. At other times, they can be headache-inducing.

At the end of the day, THE COLLECTION will probably not gain any new fans. The Collector himself will probably not go down in the history books as a significant horror icon. This film will probably be about as successful as it’s precursor. However, if you enjoyed THE COLLECTOR, there is no reason to miss out on THE COLLECTION. It’s sick, twisted fun, and a good time at the movies.

THE COLLECTION is now playing in theaters. It comes reasonably recommended by this critic, especially for fans of the original film.

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