When “THE COLLECTION” quietly debuted in 2009, I didn’t know what I was in for. What seemed like a twisted crime thriller about a new slasher was actually something quite more, a thinking man’s serial killer for a new age. The Collector is methodical, sadistic, intelligent and most of all, prepared. It was a film that set the bar high. Not only that, but it left us with a clever ending that worked as both a coda and a cliffhanger. Would The Collector return? This year’s Screamfest gave me the answer, its opening night film; The Collection.
We are introduced to Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick), a young woman with a wealthy alcoholic father and a good natured spirit. After being stood up by her boyfriend, she is kidnapped by her best friend for a night of dancing and fun. Thing is, The Collector has the same thing in mind, only his idea of fun differs greatly. The dance club becomes a slaughter the likes of which have only been glimpsed once before in Hellraiser lll, and this one is far more graphic and masterly executed. Elena survives the onslaught only to find herself in a room with a trunk, a trunk that holds Arkin.
Arkin (Josh Stewart) who has been captured by THE COLLECTION is set free. Unfortunately, Elena is captured and taken away, leaving Arkin as an expert source to track her down.
And Elena’s father’s well trained security head is going to make sure he does.
At the films center is Arkin. A career criminal that wants more for himself, but in the end, must embrace the part of him that he is desperately trying to walk away from. Though not as phycally impong as the Collector, Arkin’s intenty levels the playing field. He wants to live, and for that to happen, someone else must die.
What struck me first about this film was its compotion. Many shots are framed like a work of art. Not as a moving painting as say David Lynch might do, but perhaps best compared to a comic book panel, each color perfectly complimenting each other, each movement fluid in its action. It is mply a beautiful looking film that at its core, the film embodies the indescribable beauty of absolute ugliness. Many horror films mply exist, but this film strives for something more. It is unashamed of what it is, but at the same time, wishes to present itself as high art. The sets, the lighting, all elements come together to create a modern Gothic feel that enhances the story and showcases the performances. And the performances are a standout.
This film belongs to Josh Stewart. It’s a difficult thing to bring a criminal character to life with realism and violence and still make him sympathetic. A very subtle performance is needed and Josh pulls it off like a second skin. There is a point early on, when Arkin is multaneously directing the rescue team and telling the story of his escape. In that moment, Arkin shows his true colors, his survival instinct and his ability to lead by the shear intenty of his actions.Emma Fitzpatrick is excellent as Elena, a young woman with a less than perfect home life and a slight hearing loss. These things are part of her history and they inform the character without being a major plot point or crutch. This is important to note because it creates a complete character that exists, that has a life along with all the challenges that come with that. So often, characters are given challenges mply as a plot device rather than the purpose of fleshing them out. This tends to cause pity for the character rather than us getting behind them for all the right reasons. We don’t pity Elena; we stand behind her as strong young woman.
The Collector himself instills fear by his very existence. He is terrifying because he isn’t a hulking brute or force of evil. He is a believer in his actions and that makes a person truly dangerous.
Marcus Dunstan, writer of SAW IV-VII proves that he not only can direct a film, but own it! He has an eye for detail and story. The film is straight to the point without feeling like a tacked on ending. Some sequels feel as if you walked in half way through. This film feels complete. This film would play great in a seedy downtown theater. One where the action is infront of you but the ambiance surrounds you.
THE COLLECTION hits theater November 30 (The REAL Black Friday). Support it. Its bloody, its intelligent and visually stimulating, a symphony of terror that surpasses the original and exceeds expectations.
Other Horrific Mungs:
Two NEW Posters for The Collection Tie Things Up ...
The Collection Trailer is here and its messed up!
Death Fetish: Artwork and stills for The Collection