2009’s The Collector was an innovative and nasty horror that imprisoned the audience and its central anti-hero, Arkin (the underrated Josh Stewart) in a house full of terrifying traps, laid out by a psychopath with a twisted imagination.
The claustrophobic cat and mouse movie with its tense and truly disturbing scenes not only stays with you, but proved that the scriptwriting team Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan (who also directs) had a whole lot more to offer than simply rehashing Saw after penning episodes IV, V , VI and Saw 3D.
And it seems with The Collector’s follow up, unsurprisingly entitled The Collection, the demented duo have proved that they’ve got plenty more surprises up their sick, slick sleeves when it comes to sequels too.
Set only a short while after the original, the film opens with a series of news reports detailing The Collector’s brutal murders and his trademark of killing all his victims except one, who he takes away with him.
With Arkin still missing the police have no leads and life goes on, especially for teenager Elena (The Social Network’s Emma Fitzpatrick) who lives in luxury thanks to her rich father (Christopher McDonald).
Deciding to dump her studies and go clubbing with her friends, Elena unwittingly makes the worst decision of her life. She unwittingly walks straight into the evil arms of the serial killer Collector who unleashes a whole host of horrors on the nubile crowd gathered at the party.
Marked to be taken, Elena has just enough time to free Arkin who escapes as she is kidnapped to become part of the collection. Recovering in hospital Arkin receives an unorthodox visit from Lucello (Lee Tergesen) a mercenary hired by Elena’s father to get her back.
But in order to do that the mercenary will need Arkin’s help to lead them to the Collector’s lair. When they get there will they be able to free his latest prisoner? Or will they fall foul to the fiendish traps and tricks ahead of them, becoming part of the collection themselves.
Truly turning everything up to eleven, Melton and Dunstan transform The Collection into an all-out action horror, serving as their ‘Aliens’ to The Collector’s ‘Alien’. It’s a tactic that works impressively well, providing an immensely entertaining sequel that can be seen independently of the first and still thoroughly enjoyed.
Bringing Arkin back is the key to the audience’s engagement and Josh Stewart is perfect as a pent up ball of rage, driven at first by fear and then revenge to pay the psychopath back for what was done to him.
Fitzpatrick is excellent as Elena, and Lucello and his band of brothers and sisters in arms (including The Wire’s Andre Royo) make great fodder for the killer Collector. There are some sensationally scary and wickedly warped traps and tricks waiting in the killer’s haunt, all amazingly realised in the epic set design and special effects.
Packed full of original ideas from the Collector’s sick Damien Hurst style human artwork, to the brutal brilliance of the club killings, to the unsettling revelation of what has become of his past prisoners, The Collection is a great horror film. And Dunstan’s deft direction offers some excellent stylised moments.
The perfect companion piece to the first film, Melton and Dunstan’s movie is a blissfully brutal thrill ride that amps up the action and the gore, making it a must have for any horror collectors collection.