Review: Marcus Dunstan's The Collection

Marcus Dunstan's The Collection
8 10

PLOT: After a narrow escape from the Collector and witnessing a new victim being taken by his creepiness, the original film’s hero is convinced to lead a group of mercenaries back to find the young woman. Yet The Collector is ready and waiting as one by one the hunters quickly become the hunted in the satisfyingly gory funhouse thrills of THE COLLECTION.

REVIEW: In THE COLLECTOR, writer-director Marcus Dunstan created a terrifying horror villain, one which was destined to haunt our cinematic dreams once again. The character of “The Collector” is a sadistic f*cker that will slaughter off a family with grimly effective traps, yet he will keep one alive as a trophy of sorts. In the original, this vile fellow met his match with a desperate thief named Arkin (Josh Stewart). In the bloody and action-packed sequel, we find that THE COLLECTION has grown for this maniacal madman. While the original film featured some nasty moments of gore with a cat and mouse twist, everything is amped up for this second helping of horror.

This time the story begins with Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick) who is picked up to be taken to a midnight rave by her friends Missy (Johanna Braddy) and Basil (Daniel Sharman). Once there, they find that the host is non-other than “The Collector” himself. When Elena discovers Arkin in a box – he had been collected in the previous film – a gruesomely gargantuan trap is set for all those in attendance. However, Arkin is able to escape just before Elena is captured by the sadistic killer. After a short amount of time in the hospital to recover, the missing girl’s father (played by Christopher McDonald) hires a group of mercenaries to force Arkin to lead them back to where he had been kidnapped in order to save his daughter.

If you are looking for a sense of reality here, you probably will not find it nearly as well as you did in the first film. Yet thankfully this sequel takes elements of part one and raises the stakes to a much higher level. The body count is shockingly high, with all sorts of young nubile folks getting slashed and hacked in every way you can imagine. The film mostly takes place in a large warehouse where “The Collector” has all his atrocious creations on display. This inspires a thrillingly exciting final few moments as this sequel comes to an end. In fact, if you adjust your level of disbelief, you will find all sorts of fun in this sick and twisted carnival house of horrors.

Once again, you have to credit actor Josh Stewart. His is an intensely likable actor who puts himself into the role with one hundred percent commitment. You are willing to believe that he can survive as he does simply because the man is a complete badass. It may be a little bit hard to swallow that Arkin doesn’t fight a little harder about going back to the trap ridden realm his captor, but this talented thespian is able to pull it off. You can credit the success of this and the previous film as much to Stewart as you can the villain – as well as Dunstan’s slick direction. His Arkin is gruff, flawed and smart as hell which makes it very easy to root for the guy.

While in the last go around Arkin shared some screen time with a charming little girl, this time he is battling the unstoppable monster along with Elena, the missing girl. Emma Fitzpatrick is a perfect scream queen as she balances the innocent victim with a young woman fighting feverishly to stay alive. While many of the supporting actors aren’t given much more on-screen time than to die a grisly death, a few of them certainly make an impression. This includes Erin Way as a freaky victim Elena discovers and even the menacing Randall Archer who portrays The Collector this time around.

THE COLLECTION feels sort of like the ALIENS to THE COLLECTOR’s ALIEN. The blood and gore are amped up to high and the idea of a group of mercenaries going to search for a surviving girl feels very similar in tone to Cameron’s famous sequel. Sure this latest scarefest doesn’t delve into the cat and mouse aspect that made the original frightening, yet it offers tons of over-the-top scares and a funhouse feel. Co-writers Dunstan and Patrick Melton (SAW IV, V, VI and VII) have effectively made a sequel that expands on their dark and twisted world in a gleefully gory way. Let’s see what happens with the third chapter of this ferociously fun flick! THE COLLECTION opens on November 30th, hopefully at a theatre near you.



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