A man who escapes from the vicious grips of the serial killer known as “The Collector” is blackmailed to rescue an innocent girl from the killer’s booby trapped warehouse. That’s the plot description from the film’s IMDB page and that’s pretty much all you need to know. Well, that and the fact that the movie demonstrates just how much Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton miss working on the Saw franchise.
I admittedly haven’t seen The Collector, but seeing the first film is not crucial to understanding the events that take place in The Collection even though the main character, Arkin, is in the first movie. Most of the backstory and exposition is given to us pretty quickly, and we’re ready to experience the events of this story. After the opening scenes, we are treated to (subjected to?) one of the most over-the-top death scenes this horror movie buff has ever seen. The Collector kills an entire dance club full of people. No, seriously, an entire dance club full of people. This dude is like a mad scientist Jason Voorhees on meth.
After dispatching of almost everyone except Arkin who escapes, he leaves one girl, Elena, alive and captures her (because that’s his thing –he takes one survivor hostage). Since the police are at a loss (they usually are in these types of films), a group of Elena’s rich father’s thugs convince Arkin to help them get to the Collector’s warehouse. From there, the mayhem begins.
Honestly, I thought Hollywood had given up on these types of films. It feels like a Saw sequel from start to finish. From the ridiculously elaborate death/torture scenes to the oppressive bleak atmosphere to Charlie Clouser’s crunchy, industro-metal score, this would be right at home in that franchise. Depending on your opinion of those films, this can be either a good thing or a bad thing. The film finds itself in an odd place: the characters aren’t explored enough for us to latch onto anyone, but the film isn’t tongue-in-cheek or campy, so we’re still genuinely upset when awful things happen to them. I’m left unsure as to whether I’m feeling sympathy or repulsion.
Despite that, the film has a lot of style. It possesses a grimy, industrial music video aesthetic that made the first Saw film great, and it maintains that feel for all of its 82 minutes. It certainly has a vision and the filmmakers don’t ever lose sight of that vision. Whether you align with that vision or not, the commitment to the form is certainly admirable. I can totally get behind that. I will also say that as the film goes on, it gets a lot better, especially if you’re willing to sit back and just go with it.
The Collection is now playing in Philly-area theaters.