‘The Collection’ Review

Published 2 years ago by , Updated November 18th, 2014 at 3:57 am,

The Collection Collector The Collection Review

For unabashed fans of terror, or anyone who has enjoyed body horror offerings in the past, Dunstan has delivered a worthwhile entry in the genre.

Co-writer/director Marcus Dunstan has promised that The Collection will offer fans of his cult-favorite horror, The Collector, an even bigger, better, and more terrifying moviegoing experience. The first film opened in a challenging 2009 summer spot, competing for weeks with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince as well as G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, flying under the radar. Despite modest box office returns, The Collector still found its intended audience through post-release word of mouth.

Horror in the original Collector movie drew heavily on Dunstan and co-writer Patrick Melton’s Saw series pedigree (they penned Saw IV - Saw 3D): victims face a house full of sadistic booby traps – where panic and fear often result in gory mayhem. However, in The Collection, Dunstan and Melton expand on the mythos by taking the story to the Collector’s twisted (and still booby trapped) home base – but does a more intimate (and crazy) setting result in a movie that can cross genre lines and win over filmgoers who are intimidated by cringe-inducing body horror?

Absolutely not but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Collection isn’t a dramatic break from the torture horror genre; instead, it’s a playful evolution on the usual design for fans who still enjoy watching a group of people get torn apart by rusty machinery and twisted traps. Dunstan’s latest film is not going to be for everyone but for horror lovers who enjoyed The Collector, it’s safe to say that The Collection is an improvement in nearly every way. In addition to a series of brutal kill sequences and an intriguing look inside the Collector’s domain, the movie offers a number of intentional tongue-in-cheek riffs on standard horror tropes and a competent set of performances that help ground the bloody proceedings.

The Collection Josh Stewart Collector The Collection Review

Arkin (Josh Stewart) and The Collector in ‘The Collection’

For anyone unfamiliar with The Collector premise: in addition to serial murder (via booby trapped kill rooms), the Collector often selects a surviving victim as part of his “collection” – stuffing them in oversized suit cases for later use. In the new film, Collector survivor Arkin (Josh Stewart) escapes during one of the madman’s killing sprees – watching helplessly as the murderer captures teenager Elena Peters (Emma Fitzpatrick) for his collection. After the police fail to apprehend the Collector, and fearing that the killer will eventually come for his family, Arkin agrees to help a search and rescue squad recruited by Elena’s father (Christopher McDonald) and led by family friend, Lucello (Lee Tergesen). Their mission: find the collection, rescue Elena, and kill the Collector.

Similar to The Collector, The Collection sees antihero Arkin once again forced to juggle saving his own skin against a gnawing heart of gold that drives him to rescue innocent victims. However, one movie removed from his conman/safe-cracking days and Arkin has actually grown into a protagonist that is significantly easier to endorse. Given the additional layer of history between the pair, Arkin’s vengeful and outspoken hatred toward the Collector is surprisingly fun to watch this round – especially when juxtaposed against the antagonist’s silent mockery and taunting. Considering the amount of preachy villains who need to explain their sadistic actions, the Collector’s restraint is a welcome change of pace in the genre – a choice that makes the character all the more creepy (and downright entertaining) when a flash of emotion manages to slip out.

As mentioned, the rest of the cast, led by a solid performance from Fitzpatrick, manages to keep any over-the-top moments grounded in believable tension. Non-horror viewers will find plenty of the usual fodder for criticism – characters that make counter-intuitive (and life-threatening) mistakes or have sudden changes of heart (serving the plot instead of nuanced drama) but few of these moments detract from succeeding in The Collection‘s primary focus: tense and cringe-inducing splatter house terror.

The Collection Emma Fitzpatrick1 The Collection Review

Emma Fitzpatrick as Elena in ‘The Collection’

The kills in the film don’t carry as much weight as the calculated sequences in the Saw series (for example) but The Collector movies, with frantic fear and panic driving the characters toward painful mishaps and potential death, offer a different riff on the traditional kill trap format. Instead of watching a victim fight for their life in a calculated and torturous scenario, Collector horror is a balance between frenzied near-misses and swift kills. The Collection ups the tempo from the original film and, as a result, a few of the set pieces (as well as the larger Collector mythology) move a bit too fast to fully capitalize on the buildup – which may undercut the enthusiasm of certain Collector fans who enjoyed the intimate scope (and memorable deaths) in the 2009 film.

Nevertheless, most viewers will likely enjoy the “bigger” scale this round and the “collection” setting delivers a twisted insight into the Collector that could not have been achieved in another isolated “kill house” chapter. Plenty of mysteries remain in the fallout but Dunstan makes good use of the Collector’s “home base” characters, story, and dangers. Plus, while moviegoers might be transfixed on all of the blood and gore, certain moments in The Collection offer surprisingly beautiful onscreen viewing – especially a fiery moment toward the end.

At the very least, The Collection presents a competent and entertaining offering in a genre that has been worn down by shameless paint-by-number sequels. The movie is not going to win over gore film skeptics – it’s an unapologetic celebration of splatter cinema. If the premise, a group of people locked in a warehouse who stumble into one life-threatening trap after another (with bloody results), doesn’t sound like an enjoyable viewing experience, there’s no doubt that The Collection will likewise be painful to watch. However, for unabashed fans of terror, or anyone who has enjoyed body horror offerings in the past, Dunstan has delivered a worthwhile entry in the genre – along with a number of successful and entertaining variations to the format.

If you’re still on the fence about The Collection, check out the trailer below:


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Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future reviews, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

The Collection is Rated R for strong bloody violence, grisly images, language and brief nudity. Now playing in theaters.

Our Rating:

3 out of 5

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  1. do they explain why he only ‘collects’ certain people ? how many kills are there (minus the party slaughter) ?

    i didnt mind the collector, it just felt awkward how he breaks into a house, sets up traps, to kill everyone then breaks in again to steal the rock (or whatever), it’s like ‘why didn’t you just take the rock in the first place and do it quietly so you dont have to slaughter a whole family ?’

    i did like their heavy use of practical effects, that’s the main reason why i watch the saw movies (that and the somewhat creative traps), the practical effects really pull you into the scene and make you cringe b/c they look so real. and no i dont get wood watching that sort of stuff (i get it when i do it) :D

    • No it doesn’t explain much of anything in regards to why he kills or collects things. This in my opinion is one of the biggest downfalls of the movie. I’d say there are around 10 major death scenes in the movie which are put steadily through the entire film.

      Overall enjoyed the movie but wanted to take a shower when it was over.

    • He doesn’t collect certain people. Everybody’s fair game! Men, Women, Children, young of old. Doesn’t matter. Im not trying to sound mean either, but did you actually see The Collector? Your talking about how,
      “it just felt awkward how he breaks into a house, sets up traps, to kill everyone then breaks in again to steal the rock (or whatever), it’s like ‘why didn’t you just take the rock in the first place and do it quietly so you dont have to slaughter a whole family ?”

      That is not how it happened at all. Arkin didn’t set the traps in the house, The Collector did. Arkin had no idea that when he would return to that house for the diamond that it would be booby trapped.

      ANyways, I saw The Collection tonight and loved it, especially the ending.

      • I agree James, the movie was pretty darn good. Obviously a movie like this is not everyone’s cup of tea, so the rating Ben gave is just right imo. I thought the ending was a great change for the genre and honestly I wouldn’t have preferred it any other way.

        Definitely one of the few recent horror movies that I actually cared about the protagonists and wanted to see them come out alive.

        I was also thrown off by jwalka’s gripes about the first film. What he describes is not what happened at all.

      • i was talking about the collector going into the house an setting up traps (without anyone hearing him btw) and then coming back later to get the loot. it’s a blatant plot hole and if it’s ‘fair game’ then why didn’t he just kill them straight out instead of booby trapping the house for 1 guy and possible causalities (which he does nothing with besides kill).

        imo they should explore the collector character more, show viewers why he does what he does etc. still gonna watch this though :D

        • OK. The Collector did set the traps, yes, but you keep saying he’s “going into the house an setting up traps (without anyone hearing him btw) and then coming back later to get the loot.”

          The Collector DID NOT go back to the house to get the diamond. Arkin did. Arkin and The Collector are two DIFFERENT people. The Collector tied up the Husband & Wife first, THEN set up the traps in the house. (The little girl Hannah was hiding in the house and the older daughter Jill, was out of the house with her boyfriend) Arkin was doing work in the house at the start of the film, then planned on returning later after the family was SUPPOSED to be gone on vacation to steal the diamond. Upon breaking into the house, he soon discovers that someone else is in the house(The Collector) and that he has taken the family hostage. I hope this clears things up for you, I can’t make it any more clear then that! :)

          • i know they’re 2 different people, but did you watch the collector come back into the house right after arkin did ? b/c he did and that is the big plot hole in the movie – why not take the rock in the first place and why take the family ‘hostage’ if you’re just gonna try to kill them later on ?

            • I see your point tho you are kinda off, Arkin was working for someone so he had to wait for orders to start stealing,he was just there in the first place to scope out the house then wait on his orders which he wanted to speed up because his girlfriend or wife was in some debt.
              The Collector setting up all those traps was another issue that I questioned also, how could he set all those traps…even tho he was revealed to be one of the workers working on the house at the beginning of the movie(one of the 2 that Arkin told about the wasp or bee nest). Remember them? Then later on he got to see the Collectors face after a tussle and the mask came off, and he made a distinction.

            • It’s not explained why The Collector left and came back. Maybe to bring the dog and put him outside, maybe to get a bigger knife, who knows. The reason is because it had to set up the scare of the Collector coming back while Arkin was working on the safe and thinking he had the whole house to himself. Arkin stepped into a hornets nest because he didn’t know the Collector was there. The Collector kidnapped the family TO murder them, that’s his MO. He’s a serial killer. He always “collects” someone he deems worthy. I think he chose Arkin because he was the only one who put up a fight and he thought was a worthy adversary.

  2. Sounds about as stupid as the Saw and Hostel movies. Guess I just don’t get torture porn.

  3. Good review. I have mixed feelings on “The Collection” because it was honestly a good movie. The reason I have mixed feelings is because I feel “The Collector” was smaller and more focused. “The Collection” offers many interesting scenes, and plenty of gore, but honestly was a little too big. The dance scene massacre was just vicious, but I did like the use of Josh Stewart again as Arkin, and I also loved that they give Arkin some retribution at the end. Overall a decent movie, and should please fans.

  4. The movie explains in the beginning how he’s a serial killer & he looks for no one in particular. Women, men, children, everyone is fair game. This movie did a lot to explain why he collects what he does…Anthropology. My wife & I loved this movie, one of the best horror movies we’ve seen this year. My wife didn’t like the ending with the Collector wearing dockers & all but I liked how it showed Arkin setting up how he finds the Collector to get him back. I see a part 3 with this time Arkin doing the Collector’s bidding because the Collector has his wife. Awsome movie, 5 stars! Oh & his beginning kill scene, genius!

  5. Hi im a fan of the collector and im planning to watch the collection today…i just have a question…at the end of the collector i remember that arkin gets kidnaped by the collector..its a follow up to that on the new movie or the story changes?

    • It’s clearly a sequel, not a stand-alone movie. Although you could easily enjoy it in its own right as well.

      • I saw both movies both where great jus at the ending of the collection did they ever show his face when arkin goes to his house and pointing the gun at him ???

  6. The Collected was fantastic, Not as good at the first one but pretty close. Unfortunately we will not see a 3rd film due to very low gross. Tne writers of the film have already said if The Collected does not do well at the box office they will not do a 3rd movie since they won’t have enough money. I sen a comment by someone on here that says The Collector was one of the guys that worked on the house in the first film and that Arkin knew who he was but if you seen The Collected then that can’t be true if you remember the very end. They basically say who The Collector is or what he does for a living anyways. I really enjoyed the ending of The Collected. If they ever did a 3rd film I hope they don’t go the Saw Route and make Arkin turn bad and become The Collector..I have a few thoughts what they could do for a 3rd film but don’t want to spoil The Collection for people who have not seen it…(I seen somebody else has already done that here)

    • I am a BIG fan since The Collector. And it will stay that way. Wanna see part three. Love everything about both movies: how shots were made, music, characters, traps etc. And if I’m not mistaken, at the beginning of The Collector you can see the collector’s leg stepping out of the Master Trap ( ;-) ) Exterminator’s car, and then him in person, when Arkin informs him that there’s a wasp nest over the greenhouse. Serial killer’s thumbs up was a hilarious moment indeed.

  7. In my opinion “The Collection” does not have that type of feel like “The Collector”. The Collector was better and had a complete different feeling when watching it. The Collection seemed a little to fast like they rushed into putting together scenes when editing.

    You can tell that the endings of both part 1 and 2 are different. One makes you want to see a part 2 and the other is a bit confusing. All I got to say is “The Collector” had a understanding and a bit mystery while “The Collection” was a little two fast and confusing.

  8. To start off, I would just like to say that I give The Collector and The Collection both five stars, two thumbs up, and whatever the hell else you can think of! Although this is a review for The Collection, allow me to clear everything up if any of you are confused:

    In The Collector, Arkin is the one attempting to steal the hidden jewel inside the home. In no way whatsoever is he aware of someone else swooping in, booby trapping the hell out of the place to get a few kills! In short, Arkin is just a man trying to take this prize and get a good buck out of it. Now, the COLLECTER however, he is self explanatory. He COLLECTS people. Not really just the people, he takes them apart limb by limb, “collecting” each and every little bit of tendon, muscle, organ, bone, etc. He is trying to prey on whoever he likes, so he just picks this house! It is coincidental that Arkin and the Collecter are there at the same time.

    All in all,

    Arkin – Jewel thief trying to catch a coin to help him and his family.
    Collecter – Psycho killer who is out to collect and tear apart whoever he may please.

    NOW then, onto the review.
    To me, The Collection did a fan-TASTIC job. The same blood and gore as it’s predecessor follows into The Collection with maybe even more cringing and making-you-want-to-vomit scenes! (Not trying to give anything away here) with the enormous killing in the party scene, to the technical traps in the hotel, they will satisfy anyone that has a taste for seeing innocent people killed at the hands of an insane killer.

    As far as the characters go, the actors did a brilliant job setting the tone of the movie and letting the viewers actually feel what the characters feel. In other words, the characters are just plain brilliant. If there was something I had to point out.. I don’t really know. I never had a single complaint about aby of them. (:

    As for the story plot? Oh, dear lord. These were the types movies that I absolutely marveled over mainly because of the story line. I loved how Arkin is turned into a true protagonist and [SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER] at the end of the movie he can finally set off to have his revenge on the Collecter after Arkin apprehends him as he is face to face with this maniacal hell raiser, forcefully shoves him into the red box of hell and will make him endure each and every horrifying thing he had to put this man through. The final confrontation? I just loved it. If only we could have seen his face…

    The reason why the Collector does what he does is explained in a small line at the end of the movie. During the confrontation at the end, Arkin states that the Collector’s father had ran a museum once before. Maybe something horrible happened to him, and so he went to set out in his father’s footsteps (in a more gruesome, bloody, horrifying way).

    If I didn’t explain this clearly or good enough for you, remember that it is currently 3:30 in the morning here and I am on the verge of falling into a deep sleep. This is as clear as it will get from me at this time, and I can’t express my love for the movies fully. (:

    Overall, I just flat out love The Collection as much as I do it’s predecessor. If you are into the gory, terror, and suspenseful genre in movies, then The Collection is for you. Although you may want to watch The Collecter first, just to be into the story line and understand the movie. (:

    Well that’s all from me! You may stumble upon me on another movie review ( probably not [; ) but I hole you enjoyed this one.
    Now get out there, and go see what is one of my now favorite movies in a while.

    See you all later, and get to watching movies! Goodbye, my lovelies. <3 (;

  9. I loved the 1st and 2nd they were awesome movies and I hope they make a 3rd collector movie like they did for the saw movies

  10. I LOOOOVED THIS MOVIE. It was awesome and had the perfect balance of torture, pain, and fear. The only part I looked away from the screen for was the spiders. I’m a girl, don’t give me sh*t okay? Josh Stewart is an awesome actor. I rooted for him the whole time. I COULD not stand the girl that they chose to play the victim. AT ALL. I hope I never see her in a movie again.

    ALSO WHY HASN’T ANYONE MENTIONED THE END OF THE MOVIE?? I was screamin at my TV with excitement!