Sunday, 14 June 2015



Having co-written the last four episodes of the Saw series, the three Feast movies and the awful Piranha 3DD, Marcus Dunstan knows a thing about onscreen carnage. His 2009 film The Collector was a spectacularly nasty horror movie full of blood and screaming, in which a maniac in a gimp suit tortured and murdered a house full of people for absolutely no reason at all. Severed fingers, disembowellings and getting nailgunned to the wall were the least of the mayhem in a film in which a cat was cut in half and a dog was shot in the face. It was absolutely horrible, made no sense at all, and I'll confess I rather enjoyed it.

Obviously this sequel has to up the ante, so whereas the first film had a mere half a dozen victims, The Collection piles on the corpses by the hundred, although most of those take place in an early scene where The Collector massacres a nightclub full of dancing youngsters with gigantic combine harvester blades descending from the ceiling - again, for no logical reason. Arkin (Josh Stewart), The Collector's trophy from the first film, manages to get free inside the nightclub, but is pressured into helping rescue Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick), one of the survivors, now imprisoned in The Collector's hideout at the derelict Argento Hotel (yes, really)....

From then on it's exactly like those scenes in the Saw films where the clueless cops break into the building but are then picked off by tripwires and booby traps while prowling the moodily lit corridors; meanwhile the maniac is torturing merrily away in his makeshift laboratory full of spiders (arachnophobes beware!) and weird medical specimens in preserving jars. There is a certain pleasure to all this relentless horribleness - this is a post-Saw horror film, after all - as the characters continually trigger knife traps and iron maidens, while giant head-chopping machines and hydraulic rods drop out of the ceiling without warning. None of it makes any sense - why has this madman installed all these devices unless he's expecting company? - and we are never given a glimpse into his character. He's just a bloke who kills people.

But unlike the famously unfathomable nightmare monsters of, say, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, who are weakened by explanation, you really feel there should be some kind of an answer for The Collector, some kind of motivation. Even Jigsaw from the Saw series had his reasons. And in the absence of any "he does it because...." there's little to do but to marvel at the ingenuity of the Heath Robinson death traps and the evident pride the makers have taken in sloshing viscera across the screen and finding new and interesting ways of ripping the human body to pieces. On that level - a straight-up splatterama - The Collection is great gloopy fun, but as any kind of human drama it's utter twaddle.

There's a final scene tacked on where it looks as though Arkin might have tracked down the maniac in his normal life, and in taking his revenge might eventually become the knife-happy monster himself in any third film (The Collected? The Collectable? The Collect Call?), though according to the IMDb there isn't one underway as yet. Given that The Collection bears a copyright date of 2011, if there was going to be a continuation we'd probably know about it by now. Maybe two trips to the morgue is enough for this franchise anyway. Grisly entertainment, but enough now.


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