The Collector is a serial killer without motive, motivation, or type. He takes men, women, children, young and old, all races, genders, orientations, and locations. He kills anyone he can, but always takes one person alive. Presumably, they’re taken to add to his collection.
Arkin (Josh Stewart) is the only person to ever escape from the clutches of The Collector, after a reaping at a rave where a wealthy man’s daughter gets kidnapped by the costumed killer in question. Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick) is the lucky survivor of The Collector’s rave of horrible traps, and her father isn’t going to let her just disappear into the night as another anonymous victim. Elena’s father puts together a team of mercenaries, led by Lucello (Lee Tergesen).
Lucello and his team are going to get Elena back and stop The Collector, one way or another, and Arkin doesn’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter. He leads them to The Collector’s lair, but when the hunter becomes the hunted, that’s when The Collector’s array of traps, tricks, and toys come into play. What starts out as a mission to save a life soon becomes a mission to get out alive.
The highlight of The Collection is the gory collection of set-pieces created by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton (Dunstan directed, Dunstan and Melton wrote). The two will be familiar to horror fans (and fans of gory set-ups) for their work in the Saw series. They also did the previous film in this series, The Collector (2009), which caused quite a bit of confusion for me. Granted, not seeing the first movie hasn’t affected my ability to enjoy the second, but it’s something to keep in mind for those who are completists. I walked in without any knowledge of the first film, and it played just fine.
The Collection features more of the creative killing sequences that made the Saw films popular, with some very interesting Rube Goldberg-gone-murder traps. Some of them look as if they were meant to be screened in 3D, which thankfully didn’t happen. Some of the traps, particularly the first big set, weren’t very convincing, thought they had a wonderfully bloody pay-off, but as the movie went on, the traps got simpler and, in some ways, more clever because they seemed like plausible traps (for someone with easy access to bear traps, spikes, and crystal meth). This is not a movie for the squeamish.
The actors are surprisingly not bad, as genre movies go. It’s always nice to see Lee Tergesen doing work, and Josh Stewart is a fine lead as Arkin. Emma Fitzpatrick is fine as the heroine in peril, but in a movie like this, the acting is pretty much unimportant. They don’t detract from the scenes, and that’s about all you need. Ditto the writing; there’s not a ton of story to be had here. It’s a standard serial killer tale.
Honestly though, aside from some giddy gore, the movie didn’t do a whole lot for me. It was simply another horror movie pushed out into theaters. There was nothing noteworthy or interesting about it. It was a bad Saw rip-off from the guys that made four other Saw movies. The Collection is also based off a character from a Saw prequel idea that was offered to and rejected by Lionsgate. Clever traps and interesting kills simply don’t make up for a generic premise.