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MOVIE REVIEW: The Collection

In The Collection, the stage is more personal, while being more expansive and bloodier. With some camp and cheese, The Collection still manages to elicit enough shocks to please. Go, Arkin!

★ ★ ★ out of 5 buckets | Matinee or DVD

Rated: R - Strong bloody violence, brief nudity, language and grisly images

Release Date: November 30, 2012

Runtime: 1 hour 22 minutes

Director: Marcus Dunstan

Writers: Marcus Dunstan, Patrick Melton

Cast:  Josh Stewart, Emma Fitzpatrick, Christopher McDonald, Navi Rawat, Johanna Braddy, Daniel Sharman, Lee Tergesen, Randall Archer, Andre Royo

SYNOPSIS: Arkin escapes from the serial killer named "The Collector" when the maniac adds a girl named Elena to his gallery. When Elena's wealthy father enters the search for his daughter, he blackmails Arkin into teaming up with hired mercenaries to go into "The Collector's" booby trapped warehouse to rescue her.

REVIEW: Marcus Dunstan, writer of four of the Saw films starting with Saw IV and director of The Collector, returns to the horror franchise with his co-conspirator writer Patrick Melton to delve deeper into the crazy world of "The Collector" and his labyrinth of trophies and death traps. 

During a word of mouth techno dance club party, Josh (Michael Nardelli, Grassroots), Missy Solomon (Johanna Braddy, Paranormal Activity 3), and Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick, In Time) look to blow off steam. When Elena goes off to a quiet room, she discovers a red truck with someone inside. When she opens the truck, bloody and beaten missing cat burglar Arkin (Josh Stewart, The Dark Knight Rises) tumbles out, setting off a chain reaction that activates multiple brutal death traps that kills everyone in the club except Arkin and Elena. Elena is abducted by the serial killer dubbed The Collector while Arkin barely escapes at all. While recovering under armed police guard, Arkin is approached by a bodyguard of Elena's father (Christopher McDonald, Balls to the Wall). Heading up a recovery team including Paz (Shannon Kane, Blood and Bone), Lin (Brandon Molale, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story), Wally (Andre Royo, Red Tails), and Dre (Tim Griffin, Super 8), team leader Lucello (Lee Tergesen, Red Tails) forces Arkin to locate The Collector's (Randall Archer, Abduction) lair in an attempt to find and rescue Elena before it's too late.

The Collection, the follow up to the 2009 Saw writer spin-off 'The Collector', returns us the world that tortured the first film's protagonist Arkin. When we first met Arkin, he was a contractor working on the wealthy Chase family's house renovation. Faced with paying a loan shark's debt involving his ex-wife and child, Arkin plans to crack the family's safe while they are away on vacation. When he returns to the house after dark, Arkin doesn't realize that he is not the only criminal casing the property, finding himself trapped in the house with a deranged killer, the tortured family, and a house rigged with booby traps. Arkin thinks he escapes with his life, only to be caught and added as a trophy for "The Collector".

Although Arkin was a desperate thief in the first film, trying to save his ex-wife from the receiving end of an angry loan shark by stealing from the Chase family house safe, he was not prepared for or deserving of what the Collector had in store for him and the rest of the hapless victims trapped in the house. Arkin returns as one of the Collector's trunked trophies, again desperate to escape the clutches of this mastermind villain. Will he survive a return engagement with the masked maniac?

Dunstan and Melton created a world with The Collector that was both a derivative of that of the Saw universe, and a more intimate, personal look at a remorseless killer with an agenda much more unholy than Jigsaw's. Where Jigsaw looked to rehabilitate wayward souls through his traps, the Collector looks to enhance his own personal trophies and collection of artwork amidst the carnage of the results of his mechanisms. In 2009's The Collector, the killer morphs the Chase house into taut-wired and rigged butcher shop. InThe Collection, the house is replaced by the killer's own house, an abandoned hotel with more traps, blades, steel jaws, and menace than ever before. Like in Saw, the traps are Goldberg Device dreams, but completely unrealistic in terms of being buildable by one determined man or a small hired crew. No matter, the deaths are bloody and violent, like the fans would want.

The Collection reminded me of Aliens. Like Ripley, poor Arkin barely escaped with his life from the first film. And, like Ripley, Arkin is forced to lead a team of mercenaries back to the where the evil was last seen. There is even a merc in The Collection who is like Bill Paxton's Pvt. Hudson, taunts, jibs, and all.

The Collection is a wonderful way to complete Arkin's experience against the serial killer with a fetish for bugs and artistry. The stage is more personal, while being more expansive and bloodier. With some camp and cheese, The Collection still manages to elicit enough shocks to please.

Chuck Ingersoll is the editor and movie reviewing contributor for Hot Butter Reviews. You can find hundreds of reviews at www.HotButterReviews.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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