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Collection, The (Blu-ray / DVD)

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The Collection (Blu-ray / DVD)
Starring Josh Stewart, Emma Fitzpatrick, Lee Tergesen, Christopher McDonald, Randall Archer

Directed by Marcus Dunstan

Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment


I always feel a bit of nagging trepidation when it comes to viewing a new film from the writing duo of Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton. Now, this reviewer doesn’t intend to rake the screenwriters over the coals, as I’m sure they’re nice guys and have been responsible for some good movies. But the quality of their work seems to vary wildly with each and every outing they make within our favorite genre.

Examples? They wrote the raucous, utterly kickass creature feature Feast. But then, they also wrote its disappointing first sequel and the atrocious third installment of that franchise. Picking up where series writer/co-creator Leigh Whannell left off, Dunstan and Melton penned all of the subsequent sequels to the Saw franchise – some being quite good (others being Saw V and Saw 3D, the latter being the single worst ending a once-promising film series ever had). And while I really enjoyed their gritty, grisly horror pic The Collector, I absolutely abhorred Piranha 3DD, a movie so bad I considered it one of 2012’s worst offerings. This consistently hit-and-miss track record left me more than a little nervous for their newest feature, a Collector sequel titled, cleverly enough, The Collection. But while the film does have its flaws, it’s a superior sequel which stands as one of the pair’s strongest efforts thus far.

Picking up some time after the first film ended, The Collection finds poor thief and Collector protagonist Arkin O’Brien (Stewart) still in the hands of the villainous serial killer The Collector (played this time ‘round by a beefier Archer). Immediately following a gory (and rather stunning) nightclub massacre, Arkin escapes The Collector’s grip, only to witness the abduction of poor young clubgoer Elena (Fitzpatrick). Elena’s wealthy father responds to his daughter’s kidnapping by sending his right-hand man Lucello (Tergesen) and a team of mercs after the murderer, who drag Arkin and his knowledge about The Collector along for the ride. What follows is a descent into a nightmarish world – a long-abandoned hotel full of atrocities and potential threats, including numerous booby traps, fierce dogs, creepy-crawlies, and zombies (yes, zombies – well, victims drugged up to the point of madness and hyperviolence, anyway), to say nothing of the physically imposing and well-armed Collector himself. One by one, the team members fall as Arkin and Lucello make their way closer to Elena, even as she navigates The Collector’s lair to free herself from his grasp. These two story threads eventually converge and culminate in a fiery, blood-soaked, and surprisingly emotional finale…right before a final sequence that stands as one of the more satisfying denouements in recent genre flick memory.

In enlarging their story’s scale for this second trip to The Collector’s world, Melton and Dunstan have proven that they’re more than capable of writing some kickass action sequences, while displaying that Dunstan’s skill behind the camera has grown by leaps and bounds. His direction here is far more confident than his work in The Collector, as he delivers a beautiful looking movie full of tension, scares, and energy. If he continues to improve like this with each outing, I can’t wait to see what he does next.

The acting, too, is mostly solid all across the board (especially from the principals). As with the original film, Josh Stewart proves to be an unconventional and very likeable lead, more than able to carry the bulk of the film on his shoulders. Lee Tergesen is great as always (it mystifies me why the man doesn’t get more work), while Christopher McDonald puts in a good performance in the brief amount of time he has onscreen. And as the film’s co-lead, relative newcomer Emma Fitzpatrick makes for a compelling presence, skillfully portraying her character’s strength and vulnerability in equal measure (often all at once). Between starring in this and her brilliant Anne Hathaway/Oscar spoof, I predict it won’t be long before this talented actress is a bona fide star.

Sam McCurdy’s fine cinematography and Graham Walker’s gruesome/gorgeous (…gruegeous?) production design combine to give this (presumably) low budget affair a large scale feel, while Saw veteran Charlie Clouser’s score keeps the proceedings both taut and poignant. So while the film does have its occasional missteps (some dodgy dialogue, some arcs that never fully pay off, some acting that doesn’t quite work), The Collection still stands as an engaging, supremely entertaining post-torture porn slasher than harkens back more to the 80s and 90s than more recent genre fare. It’s well worth a look.

Lionsgate’s Blu-ray release of The Collection is impressive, with a fine image, great sound, and a decent…erm, collection of bonus features. The 1080p picture is just fantastic, with inky blacks and gorgeous hues, looking razor-fine throughout. Honestly, I think the film looks better on disc here than it did in the digital cinema I first caught the movie in. And the sound design is superb, fully immersive with loads of surround detail. A great presentation for a great flick.

Extras-wise, we get a feature-length commentary with Dunstan and Melton, which is actually one of the better commentaries I’ve listened to in a while. Their chat is funny, engaging, and informative; it’s well worth your time if you’re a fan of the film. There are also three deleted scenes – one featuring an alternate (and more surprising) death, another that’s brief and rather pointless, and the final one being a follow-up to the film’s ending (which really should’ve stayed put). In addition, there are five featurettes which cover various aspects of the film’s production (including a look at the makeup and visual effects, production design, and stunts). And, fortunately, Lionsgate has included the theatrical trailer as well (thanks gang, always appreciated).

So if you were a fan of The Collector, do be sure to check out this fantastic sequel. If you weren’t so much of a fan, or if you’ve never seen it, go ahead and give this superior and relatively standalone entry a shot. In the meantime I’ll continue to anxiously await the third installment.

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary with Director/Co-Writer Marcus Dunstan and Co-Writer Patrick Melton
  • Five Behind-the-Scenes Mini-featurettes
  • Alternate/Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer

    Film:

    4 out of 5

    Special Features:

    3 1/2 out of 5

    Discuss The Collection in our comments section below!

  • Jinx

    12 Comments

    1. Just got around to seeing this. Very happy to say I, yet again, completely with you on this, Jinx! It was balls-out, over-the-top action-horror, packed with splattery gore just the way I like it! And with a much better quality production than the previous movie – I loved the hell out of it!

    2. I prefer the original. I had LOW expectations for The Collector because I hated everything Dunstan and Melton did with a passion. It was all the same winking at the camera, cutesy bullshit everyone was criticizing late ’90s, post-Scream horror for…but it had gore. I also had an intense dislike for anything associated with the term torture porn. So color me surprised when I ended up thinking the original was not awful and actually kind of entertaining. That rested mostly on Josh Stewart, who made Arkin a likable jerk. But the plot was fun in a Rube-Goldberg-on-steroids kind of way and it had a nice claustrophobic atmosphere.

      The Collection I had high hopes for. I was a little disappointed. It was more action-horror than I wanted. Also, pet tweaker-zombies. I still can’t get past the fact that the guy had pet zombies. Yes, the original was strange, but this felt like a cartoon.

    3. Superior sequel, huh? Always expected it to suck real bad… damn I’m excited now! I’m someone who thinks the first movie turned out to be a complete blast, once I looked past the torture porn stuff. Seriously Jinx, it seems you could sell any movie to me. As always, bravo! I’ll add it to my list as this movie really does sound gruegeous.

    4. I liked it. Now to track down the first one. That third act was damn tense, though some things the killer did didn’t make sense. Really enjoyed it though.

    5. I have to disagree with this. I hated The Collector. I had no intention on watching The Collection. I skipped it in the theaters, and usually I’ll watch anything on my Fridays off from work. After listening to the Dinner For Fiends, I thought I’d give the Blu Ray a shot since I heard plenty of praise saying it was leaps and bounds above it’s predecessor. Errhhhh, no it wasn’t.

      The Collection is another cringe-worthy film, and NOT in the good kind of way. The story is horrible. The carnage is cheesy over-the-top CGI bullshit. The acting is embarrassing. Nothing about the film makes a lick of sense. The “lair” was in the middle of no where, but shit like shooting a bum gets police attention within seconds. Just horrendous writing. Garbage lazy drivel. Zero realism what-so-ever takes you right out of story.

      I can’t waste any more time on this bag of horseshit.

      The Collection – 1/5.

      • Do you know how to oh idk lay back and enjoy a film that is not suppose to be realistic and just be a fun good time. and Zero Realism NO SHIT ITS A MOVIE

        • No, not when the movie is based in reality, it has to play by the rules. By your logic, any movie can do anything because IT’S A MOVIE. That’s bullshit.

          Your fun time good time rule applies in movies like Die Hard. Millions of bullets flying and yet he never dies. But even suspending the realism for the sake of entertainment, John McClain never does shit like pick up a truck over his head and throw it or grow wings and fly.

          The Collection is pure dogshit. It’s not fun in the least. At least they got the title correct, it IS a collection of garbage shaped into an embarrassing mess masquerading as a horror film. More illogical implausible poor writing thrown at the wall hoping something will stick and simple minds will be entertained. Maybe in Part 3 The Collector will build a gigantic blade that will kill a 1000 people at a football game, letting one person escape to trap in his case, and no one will notice or care to investigate.

          • I’ve been saying this a lot to people who give examples of what would be a “bad” idea for a movie… but that last part, I’d really wanna see!

          • I actually think this sequel was waaay over-hyped. The kills were pretty weak, I still didn’t buy into Arkin as a hero, and the killer’s mask still sucks. It’s like a crappy version of Decker’s mask from Nightbreed. Apparently the mercenaries never underwent any sort of training either; because they were the most incompetent mercs I’ve ever seen.

    6. Totally agree what a step up this one is from the original. Very glad to see how Dunstan and Melton have grown and evolved within the genre. Hopes are high for the third chapter.

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