Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Horror Movie Mini-Reviews: The Collector and The Collection

* The Collector

Arkin O'Brien is desperate to pay off his debts to protect his ex-wife and daughter from loan sharks. So he's forced to do one last heist with his lockpicking and breaking and entering expertise,  posing as a handiman to a rich family. The house has a huge, expensive ruby that will solve all his problems, but coincidentally, a masked killer with elaborate traps attacks the house on the same night of the heist. The killer doesn't factor in the thief to his plans. Can Arkin save the family and escape with his life?

The Collector is a fun, bloody slasher with traps similar to Jigsaw's in Saw without the faux morality reasoning. The only developed character is Arkin. We see his past and his relatable reasoning for his thievery. He's the most clever and catches on to the killer's ways the fastest. The rich family aren't portrayed as deeply and mostly act as fodder for the unique kills which aren't to be underestimated. The Collector is the best part of the film with his twisted mask, reflective eyes, and ominous silent presence. Nothing is known about him at all. It's even more effective that he could be anyone. His methodology is cruel. He captures someone from the previous kill and traps them in a red trunk. The opening of that trunk activates the horrific traps for the new kill, leading to the mental torture and probable death of the survivor who knows what's in store for the new targets and can't help them. There's honestly not much to this film beyond interesting kills, gore, and a tense cat and mouse game. It does fall into typical horror tropes a little more than I would like. However, The Collector is fun and unexpected, which is more than I can say for a lot of the more mainstream franchises that keep pumping out the same dreck year after year.

My rating: 3.5/5 fishmuffins

* The Collection

Elena Peters and her friends go to a party in a fashionable secret, underground club while The Collector continues to kill indescriminantly. The Collector coincidentally targets the club and kills all the clubgoers except Elena, who is trapped in the red trunk, and Arkin, who escapes from that trunk and out into the night. Elena is taken to the Collector's layer and Arkin goes to the hospital, where the police make a deal with him to lead them to the lair to save Elena. Arkin agrees only to lead them there, but they threaten him to continue inside to a madman's labyrinthine layer, full of victims, bodies, traps, and his collection.

The Collection is a huge improvement to The Collector that keeps the first films innovative kills and unpredictable nature. It breaks out of a lot of the tropes it held in the first film. The beginning news montage shows the extent of the Collector's killings with hundreds of victims with no connection whatsoever and numerous people still missing. The people are terrified, but it doesn't stop teens from being teens. The mass club kill scene is one of my favorite in any horror film because it's over the top, impressive, and a little funny. Instead of the film taking place in one building like the first, it bucks tradition and takes it right to the Collector's doorstep. His place is a labyrinth of insanity and horror with a dash of culture. We get to see how he lives his day to day life torturing people, creating his works of art, and completing his collection in an almost banal way. His artwork is depraved and macabre, comprised of rearranged human bones, limbs, and skin in different combinations. He has people tortured so extremely that they either resemble animals more than humans to protect his home or are devoted to him over any sort of self preservation. Parts of his lair resemble a conventional collector's extensive collection with art, books, and animals, living and dead.

Arkin and the police team have to navigate the Collector's territory where anything could be a trap. Although the public places and house he rigs are impressive, it's nothing compared to his own home where he has had years to cultivate his traps. The police officers are mostly paper thin characters that are fodder for the traps and the Collector's creations. Arkin and Elena are the only characters to root for unless you prefer the enigmatic menace of the Collector. I'm curious about him because he's obviously educated with his knowledge of entymology and biology, but also knows how to fight when needed. It's smart to leave him mysterious, but I wouldn't hate it if they explored his life more. The ending is unexpected, but I wish more movies had been made. The formula lends itself to a variety of innovative kills, a deep rivalry between the hero and villain, and the decent writing to go at least a couple more movies. This series is so underappreciated and it's definitely worth your time.  

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

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