‘The Collection’ Assaults Viewers with Nonsensical Gore

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HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

CHICAGO – “The Collection” is a very, very, very, very bad movie. It is really only watchable because it’s so bad. It’s one of those flicks that encourages talking or tweeting in the theater merely so you can make it enjoyable by laughing at it and not really with it. However, one cannot deny that Marcus Dunstan’s completely illogical mess of a horror film certainly never bores. It’s too bafflingly stupid to be truly boring.

After a bizarre prologue that lets you know you’re in for some weird filmmaking, the beautiful Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick) gets a call from her boyfriend cancelling their plans for the night. As in all movies of this type, she has a few friends just waiting outside to take her to a party, which ends up being a top-secret rave that requires a password and minimal body fat for entrance. The credit montage has made clear that there’s a maniac on the loose, a man who has killed dozens of people and typically takes one victim with him after each murder spree. Welcome to the set-up. The rave turns into a dance floor of body parts and Elena is one of the last people standing. After a bloodied man named Arkin (Josh Stewart) escapes from a trunk in a back room, Elena takes his place. She has been collected.

The Collection
The Collection
Photo credit: LD Entertainment

Before Arkin can even set his broken arm and tell his poor wife to run for the hills, he’s descended upon by Luchello (Lee Tergeson), an employee of the wealthy Mr. Peters (Christopher McDonald), the father of Elena. Luchello has been protecting Elena for years and he knows that Arkin is the best man for the job of leading a team of true expendables to find her. The red shirts are assembled and they begin the process of finding the collector’s torture castle. The creepy, abandoned hotel on the edge of town that somehow still has a massive water bill and electricity might be a good place to start.

From here, “The Collection” becomes little more than a series of gore movie clichés. Barking dogs. Saw blades. Fly zappers. Chains. Razors. Spiders. Apparently, the collector watched nothing but “Saw” movies before designing his house of horrors. To say that the setting of “The Collection” makes no sense would be a MASSIVE understatement. It is filled with elaborate traps designed to send spikes through our dear protagonists that defy every ounce of logic. You start asking questions and you just can’t stop. Why are there bear traps in that hallway? What purpose would those spikes in that small part of the room serve if the poor mercenary was standing anywhere else? How much time did he spend covering all the windows given the fact that this was once a HOTEL?

I’m all for horror movies that make no sense at all if they have personality but Dunstan doesn’t have that level of skill. There’s no style here until it’s too late. When the film gets to its final act with backlit shots of The Collector with a giant firearm and two dogs at his side, it approaches the level of Grand Guignol that it should have had all along. I actually would have embraced “The Collection” more if it was even more ridiculous in its architecture but, after the insanity of the “raver lawnmower” in the opening scene, it’s relatively straightforward. If you’ve seen a “Saw” movie, you know what to expect. (Until the finale which is, admittedly, ridiculous in a fun way. It’s getting there that’s tough.)

The Collection
The Collection
Photo credit: LD Entertainment

And the movie is morally bankrupt on a thousand levels. At least with the “Saw” movies there was an attempt at morality – bad people getting what they deserve. Here, the audience manipulation is insane. We see a man on an operating table getting his tongue ripped out and we barely care because Dunstan keeps us with Elena during that scene. We see hundreds of people die in the rave sequence. And yet, near the end, when a mercenary of Luchello’s is kidnapped by The Collector then we’re supposed to feel tension when a razor blade is being rubbed against her face. Dude, I just saw someone mutilated and turned into a human zombie and didn’t care about that character, why should I care about this one?

The answer is that you shouldn’t care about ANY of them. “The Collection” defies things like caring. But what the people who make movies like this don’t understand is that if we don’t care, it’s impossible to be scared. There’s not a SINGLE moment of honest fear in “The Collection.” And so it fails as a horror movie. As a comedy, it almost works.

“The Collection” stars Josh Stewart, Emma Fitzpatrick, Randall Archer, Lee Tergesen, and Christopher McDonald. It was written by Marcus Dunstan & Patrick Melton and directed by Dunstan. It will be released on November 30, 2012 and is rated R.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

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