Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton finally unleash the slick killer sequel to their 2009 torture porn slasher The Collector, and it’s entirely worth the wait. Picking up from where the first film left off, we find Arkin (Josh Stewart) captured by the masked madman known as The Collector, a serial killer who employs vicious traps to dispose of his many victims. This time, Arkin is dragged back into The Collector’s house of mayhem by a team of mercenaries hell-bent on saving their employer’s daughter.
Considering the fact Melton and Dunstan are responsible for the later – more schlocky – Saw sequels, it’s impossible not to draw comparisons, but that’s not exactly detrimental either because The Collection is simply a great piece of entertainment horror. Dare I, a devout Saw fan, say it’s worth your time more than Saw’s 4, 5, 6, and 7? Well…yes. The directing duo has put aside a penchant for crap scripting to construct a bombastically shameless thriller with a decent story and a terrific pace.
After a brutal nightclub set-piece, the action flips over to The Collector’s lair where he’s got enough tricks and traps to put Jigsaw to shame. Special award for fucked-up defence systems goes to the brainless junkie zombies for outright macabre, but the true prize of the whole film is the actual collection. It makes a great poster for the film, but I can’t help thinking it would have been better to keep that wee trick up the sleeve. The story sees the team split up, tortured, disposed of, and hounded through a fun house like you’ve never seen, with Arkin questioning again and again how the hell he got dragged into all this for a second time. It is gruelling and action packed, the sets are a pleasure to watch for any horror fan, and more often than not you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat. This sort of energy is hard to find in modern horror (even Hostel has dried up) so you have to be grateful when you find it.
Keeping the fantastic Josh Stewart involved is a sure-fire way to maintain some continuity and at least attempt a bad-ass protagonist. Too often horror chucks its male heroes away in some blood-drenched sweetheart farewell that leaves the whole affair wrought with soppy after tones. Special note goes to Lee Tergesen who lends a hand to be the other cool guy, the Cpl. Hicks to Stewart’s Ripley. The villain of the piece isn’t too shabby either, being entirely formidable, totally deranged, and genuinely mysterious. Brownie points have to be awarded for having the gall to keep the killer’s mask on, so there’s genuine potential for The Collector to get inducted into the Horror icons catalogue. With its cliff-hanger finale, interest has been tickled.
A superior slice of fun that shamelessly flaunts a love of gore and hyper-violence, The Collection is a superior sequel to a dismissible first attempt. At this rate the third will be something to really look forward to.
Dir: Marcus Dunstan
Stars: Josh Stewart, Emma Fitzpatrick, Christopher McDonald, Lee Tergesen