The Collection (2012)

Three years ago (almost to the day!), I was surprised by a little modern slasher called The Collector. I had expected another Saw-inflected torture flick with little to offer. What I actually got was a fun, Home Alone-with-horror flick with some great tent-pole moments and interesting murder gizmos. In that review, I was aware of a forthcoming sequel and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Now that it has finally arrived, I can greet it with a hearty “meh”. I feel compelled here to let you all know that this review will contain spoilers for The Collector, because I can’t talk about the sequel’s plot without giving away the ending of the first one.

The Collection picks up pretty much where its predecessor left off, explaining the events of the first through a series of news segments. Arkin is stuck in his little box only to escape into the opening scene of Blade 2, where obvious final girl Elena and her friends are being pursued by a toned down version of the killer. Elena eventually gets collected, while Arkin is gently cajoled (with a gun to his head) to re-enter the Collectors hideout hotel by a private security team. Led by Lee Tergesen. It’s the Aliens of Saw sequels, but infuriatingly separate to the original.

My main problem with The Collection lies in the fact that it bears no resemblance to The Collector beyond some superficial similarities. The killer wears the same mask, but his entire modus operandi is different. Where the Collector of the first flick utilised trip-wire traps and tricked-out pratfalls, this one totes a machine gun and sets people on fire. I’m not going to say it isn’t fun, but it certainly doesn’t feel canonical.

I was especially worried when the secret rave plot point was introduced at the very beginning, but that was handled brilliantly. At first it feels like Dunstan is continuing in the vein of The Collector by introducing this incredibly over the top trap which tears through hundreds of pretty young revelers. But after this satisfyingly macabre opening, The Collection shifts completely, ending up in standard, muted horror territory. When Arkin is forced to go back to LV-426, I mean, that un-named cave in theĀ Appalachians, I mean the killer’s hotel of horrors, I just deflated. It’s template sequel stuff, and the guys who so accurately lampooned genre flicks in their Feast movies should know better.

The Collection does have its moments, but for the most part is a lazy sequel that doesn’t have the “fuck yeah” quality of the first installment. I winced at broken arms and dying dogs but the suspense of the previous is all gone. Viewed as a standalone film, it might get more play from audiences but fans of The Collector may be out of luck.

Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

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