Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Mellon have paired to create a sequel to their 2009 horror thriller The Collector with a film that equals, or possibly even surpasses, its predecessor in gratuitous gore and violence.
The Collection returns to the torturous exploits of a masked assailant known as The Collector who kills everyone at a given location, such as a house or a club. Everyone, that is, save one person, who must then learn if he or she is worthy for inclusion in the collector’s assortment of long-suffering victims.
Dunstan and Mellon, who were involved in writing the screenplays of Saws IV, V and VI, continue to use as a plot device a dangerously and terrifyingly intelligent villain—the collector has a knack for grisly booby traps reminiscent of Spanish Inquisition torture devices. Yet The Collector is unlike the Jigsaw Killer of the Saw franchise, who could be considered a grotesque hero trying to force his victims to see the value of their lives. The murders and tortures perpetrated by The Collector seem to have no purpose other than to satisfy a sadistic and twisted desire.
The plot of The Collection is unique and independent of its predecessor, avoiding a common flaw of over-continuity to the point of repetition in sequels. There are a few elements of the movie that connect it to The Collector—most notably the antagonist (who is still killing in ingenious ways and kidnapping one live victim), and the protagonist, Arkin, an ex-convict played again by Josh Stewart, who was kidnapped by The Collector at the end of the 2009 movie. The Collection introduces completely new characters and plot themes, adding information that could explain what pushed The Collector to carry out his grisly tasks. A third installment could make for a quality story, but as of now it feels like disappointingly untapped potential.
The greatest creativity, unfortunately (although some would consider this fortunate), lies in the various causes of death shown on screen. In the first fifteen minutes of the movie, we see hundreds of people either decapitated by a jagged combine, chopped in half by razor sharp wire or—in what may be one of only two truly tragic scenes in the move—crushed by a slowly descending motor-controlled ceiling. Many of the subsequent executions in The Collection, however, seem over the top, such as one involving an iron maiden torture device.
The Collection is the perfect movie for lovers of slasher films, perhaps even going so far as to alienate—even nauseate—general-interest viewers. Don’t expect more than an ever-increasing body count.