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The Collection

The Collection (2012) is the sequel to the 2009 torture/slasher flick, The Collector. The story of this follow up begins shortly after the events of the previous film, and chronicles the ongoing and horrifying exploits of everyone's favorite etymology-obsessed, woolly gimp mask-wearing, booby trap fanatic, the Collector (Randall Archer). Also returning is the safe cracker with a heart of gold, everyone's favorite handyman and child savior, Arkin O'Brien (Josh Stuart).

Before the return of the good Mr. O'Brien, a new series of fodder characters are introduced, including new protagonist, Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick). Ignoring the news reports recapping the horrific event of the first film, Elena sneaks out of her father's mansion to attend a killer rave party alongside her two underdeveloped buddies, Josh and Josh's blonde sister. I feel sort of bad that this character's name doesn't appear in my notes, but between you, me, and the spoiler on the wall, she isn't around long enough for her name to matter.

Elena and pals show up to this exclusive, back-alley party and proceed to rave as hard as their little hearts will let them. The plot starts to move when Elena runs into her boyfriend, who is busy making out with a random party lady. The boyfriend's nonchalant shrug earns him a straight jab to face by Elena, and this draws the attention of our black-clad antagonist, whom is perched on the rafters above the party like a creepy, gimp-masked gargoyle.

Distraught, Elena stumbles backstage and the audience begins to get a better idea of just how screwed everyone at this party is. Hidden away in one of these backrooms, Elena comes across an oddly placed red steamer trunk. As one does in these films, she opens it, and out tumbles Arkin, last seen at the end of the first film being shoved into said trunk by the Collector. His release starts our first Rube Goldberg booby-trap activation sequence and, just like that, the first major set piece of the film is set into motion.

I've been describing the events of the film thus far mostly just to talk about this scene. The entire rave warehouse has been rigged with the business end of a farm thresher, which descends upon the multitude of party goers. To say that the blood begins to flow is a significant understatement. I was reminded of the oft-remembered opening sequence to Ghost Ship, but brought to the complete next level. This is one hell of a kill sequence, and is one which horror fans owe to themselves to see.

As the plot machine continues, Arkin manages to escape from the grasp of the Collector, and Elena is snatched in his place. Turns out, Elena is the daughter of a very wealthy man with his own personal private security team. The security team recruits Arkin to take them to the Collector's lair, so that they might save Elena from her horrible fate.

Without following the scenes of the film further, the rundown warehouse which serves to hold the titular Collection is a true horror show. Our would-be rescue team encounter horror after horror, and the full extent of the Collector's demented depths are more fully explored than in the first film. Highlights of the collection include people in drug-induced zombie-like state which are essentially kept as attack dogs, and a room full of water preservation tanks holding monstrosities of literally stitched together body parts. The Collector clearly sees himself as something as an artist, and its an interesting direction for the character given the narrow focus on torture and booby-traps demonstrated in the first film.

As impressive as I found the opening kill sequence in scope, I was somehow left with the impression that The Collection skews more towards action than straight horror. This basis of this feeling is difficult to adequately explain, as the amount of horrific scenes shown on the screen can't really be denied. Despite the abundant use of slow motion in the various trap sequences, I felt like the camera never quite hung on any of the special effects in a way that emphasized the horror of what's occuring on screen.

Despite this, The Collection is a worthy follow-up to the first film. The mythos of the Collector is suitably expanded, and the scope of the film is far grander than the single house setting of the first film could ever support. The imagery of some of the items kept in the collection are so vivid and provoking that I can't help but want to watch this film over again. Although the ending of the film is fairly clear, it certainly does leave room open for additional entries in the series. Should a third installment of The Collector appear, I'd be game for one more round.

Three stars.

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