Review: The Collection is the sequel no one should have asked for

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Writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton have had such a massive output of horror films since their 2005 Project Greenlight breakout Feast that I didn't realize The Collection was a sequel until well after the credits rolled. I'd feel bad if it weren't just one entry in an increasingly excessive pile of horror films featuring masked killers and torturous traps. One look at their filmography reveals that Dunstan and Melton are guilty of contributing to the pile more than most. With four Saw films under their belts and two movies about this masked "Collector", it may be time for the pair to take a break.

The problems begin almost immediately. The Collector is introduced as a one-man murdering apocalypse. Nowhere is safe, people have been killed at home, outside, even at work. He kills groups of people and kidnaps one lucky customer for his collection. News reports claim he has kidnapped over 50 victims, suggesting he has killed hundreds more. In the first set-piece alone he chops up an entire nightclub full of people like it's business as usual. If you're wondering where he gets the resources for this you've already thought about the premise more than the writers did.

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This guy is a super killer of comic book proportions. He has practically turned an entire city upside down. More than anything this was what compelled me in the opening minutes of the film. Who was this man? What were his motivations and what were his resources? How would a city react to such a terrible crisis? Unfortunately these aren't questions this film is interested in answering.

It's probably not fair to fault a film for not being something it clearly didn't aspire to, but I can't help being disappointed when The Collection turns into the typical fun house of deathtraps. A group of survivors run around in terror getting picked off one by one in creatively gory ways. Meanwhile the masked killer stomps around menacingly and does that confused-pitbull head tilt-thing that bad guys do in movies for some reason. He must be wildly rich and brilliant in order to create this scenario, yet suddenly he becomes just dumb enough for some of his victims to fight back.

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When a rescue team discovers The Collector's secret lair, it begs a new set of questions. Why didn't the police check all the abandoned buildings in the city as soon as the first few dozen people were killed? It's just hard to believe that a killer this notorious could have such a well-established home base in a giant abandoned hotel.

Also, The "Argento" Hotel? Really? I can appreciate a shout-out as much as anyone, but that's just depressing. Do we really need a reminder that Dario Argento's classics like Suspiria and Opera share DNA with this gory shlock? The Collection doesn't do itself any favors by calling attention to far better horror movies and far better directors.

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There are many more questionable moments in The Collection but we'd probably be here all day. From physical impossibilities like characters breaking their arms to reach for door latches, or simple cinematic stumbles like excessive use of slow motion, The Collection is illogical to the core. Even if you can suspend disbelief you're left with a film that's tasteless and unambitious. Bordering on unwatchable, The Collection is a killer you should avoid at all costs.

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Joe Donato Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I'd rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.
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