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The Collection (2012)
Written by Marcus Dunstan & Patrick Melton Directed by Marcus Dunstan
Though this sequel does follow Arkin (Josh Stewart) once again (more or less) and we’re finally able to see him escape. Luck would have it that in order to enjoy said freedom, he’d be forced back into the lion’s den in order to help obtain Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick); daughter of random rich guy, Mr. Peters (Christopher McDonald). Who would hold no relevancy of any kind pertaining to the actual story, yet be able to equip himself with a bunch of goons willing to ensure his every wish was followed through readily. After losing her mother at a young age and enduring an accident that would leave her deaf, the crown jewel would be having her father fault into alcoholism after unable to cope with his handicap (bound to wheelchair). Continuing her string of ‘good luck’ years later by deciding to sneak out one night with best friend Missy (Johanna Braddy); who becomes almost immediately catapulted into a drunken state. With further shock seeping in once Elena catches her boyfriend with another woman at the rave. Running off to find the only secluded room in the warehouse while simultaneously setting off a most satisfying first trap that would ensure the loss of at least fifty people. Way. To. Go.
Though unaware it would later come back to bite him in the ass, Arkin would lay a final glance on Elena before she’s eventually taken by the Collector (played by Randall Archer). Questioned by head goon Lucello (Lee Tergesen) while in recovery at the hospital; long time friend/savior of the family. Assuring that he’d be able to assemble a team more valiant in effort. Yet forced to oblige if wishing to have his lengthy criminal record cleared, which was an implied guarantee. Having laid out a most brilliant approach for finding his way back as he’d created a map with self-inflicted scars alongside his forearm. Maintaining that while he’d show them the way, he wouldn’t possibly be entering the compound again. That is, until a gun’s pointed at his head and he’s asked to ‘reconsider.’ The five entering the twisted maze of the warehouse where they bare witness to his mad dog creations, loyal pet named Abby (Erin Way) and endless traps ready to be set off at a moments notice.
With the ending left once again, rather ambiguously. This time turning the tables on our Collector as Arkin comes out the victor in the end. Doing some damned good detective work in finding fourteen Entomologists that were possible suspects (within the area) and after eleven attempts, finally able to say “Gotcha!” Wonder how many awkward moments that warranted along the way. Though it wouldn’t really be necessary to see any further vengeance achieved in the series. Arkin makes his threats, engages in a small struggle and ends with locking the miscreant in the very trunk he had the unfortunate pleasure of calling home for some time. So one can assume all they like as to what exactly took place after.
Now, whether this was a good decision for the team of Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton (former pair of four of the Saw films) was what I was unsure of. While both are very hands on and have obviously gained a vast knowledge from working on the before mentioned films, this second installment seemed too tawdry for myself. While it started out with a big bang, the rest of the movie seemed as though some silly redemption piece when in all actuality, Arkin didn’t owe anything to this girl Elena. And if this was taking place shortly after the first installment, what exactly was kept in those cases for Arkin to have gained all this knowledge/know-how in becoming a bad-ass/sharpshooter (resulting in the quickest arrival of cops in cinema history). Just because her daddy’s rich and this guy had a conscious shouldn’t mean anything. Because if she was intelligent enough to escape from the case using a bra strap (which did need to be proven to Producers before using in the film) then I’m sure she could have easily maneuvered the rest of the way out.
Though the idea of giving the Collector a pet was a vaguely fascinating idea. The loyalty of her ways being a cross between Stockholm syndrome or knowing that even if she did find someone to help her out, how could she ever bounce back after being “trained” the way she had. Becoming her own worst enemy in the end. The dogs laid out in the basement were created by having pumped people up with so many drugs that they’d resemble rapid dogs. What I did like, was the extensive collection throughout the warehouse and especially showcased at the end. Having collected his fair share of people, he’d been able to create these morbidly fascinating statues. Which of course we were unable to see until the end when at that, were destroyed for the sake of getting Arkin out. The fashion in which such was done though was magistrated as if some cheesy rock video and somewhat turned me off.
In a world where the Collector took precedence over those living among him, it was only oh so clear that there would be room for another installment. A prelude having graced us with its presence three years prior, ensuring that with its tone and introduction of a master of assemblage, that we were sure to ask for more. Myself included. But when this trailer was released, I remember it coming off a bit too second-rate for myself. Seemingly trying out for a murky tone as three youngins approach a secret club in the darkest of alleys (alway a good strart). In other words, the feel of most B Horror films attempting to gain further success off of what was initially just a one hit wonder.