The marketing campaign for The Collection could be “Get in, get scared, get out.” This is one of the tightest horror films to come out in years. It’s a big challenge to build genuine suspense when you’re constantly moving and scaring the audience, yet writer/director Marcus Dunstan and writer Patrick Melton have managed to do just that.
The Collection is a sequel to 2009′s The Collector, about a thief who stumbles upon a serial killer’s plan to execute an entire family with brutal booby traps. The thief is collected at the end of the film, unseen until a young deaf woman discovers a beat up red trunk at a large night club. She accidentally sets off a wave of destruction, killing everyone but the thief, the Collector, and herself. She’s captured in the trunk and brought to the Collector’s hotel laboratory/museum and the thief is forced to lead the rescue mission.
That’s just the first ten minutes of the film. The greatest strength of The Collection is its pace. This film is fast. It doesn’t gloss over the details, but it does constantly switch between different characters’ stories in the Collector’s hotel to keep your interest. The story does not linger long enough on the gore and devastation to let you question believability or predict what’s going to happen next. There isn’t one extra frame in the construction of this film. Every shot has a purpose and that purpose is to scare you senseless.
The other great strength of the film is the acting. Every major player in the film gives a great performance. Josh Stewart, reprising his role as Arkin the thief, is given prominent leading man status with a manipulative, self-preserving determination that should make you hate him. Once you see what the Collector put him through between the two films, you can’t help but root for him. Stewart presents a desperate man willing to do anything to get revenge and save his life.
Not to be outdone, series newcomer Emma Fitzpatrick gives one of the more believable survival girl performances in recent memory as the hearing impaired Elena. Her character is clearly frightened, but smart enough to realize that losing her composure will result in certain death. She has a steely resolve to survive, but an open heart that forces her to try and save everyone else she encounters. It’s a heartbreaking performance in a film with literal heartbreaking.
The woman she tries to save is Abby, another piece of the collection played by Erin Way. Way plays this Stockholm Syndrome-stricken character with great skill. Her Abby is clearly off-balance after being turned into the Collector’s living china doll but Way grounds it in a brutal sense of reality. Abby is perhaps the most realistic character in the film because Erin Way removes all artifice from the standard crazy captive horror trope.
Charlie Clouser’s original score is perfectly timed to the action of the film. The night club sequence unfolds in a pitch perfect dubstep so loud that you can barely hear the screams. The cuts, fades, and loops time up with the hookups, fights, desperation, and destruction. It only gets better from there. Too many modern horror films have lazy scores that distract from the action. This one actually elevates the suspense.
The Collection is the horror film slasher fans have been waiting to get for years. It is a brutal and gory picture that actually has a voice. There’s a real story and believable characters filling a merciless world where all a serial killer needs is some scrap metal, hunting traps, and illegal drugs to destroy a town. The scariest part of The Collection is how much it grounds the extravagance of the Collector himself.
Thoughts on The Collection? Share yours below.