In a conscious attempt to rack up the kill number, 'The Collection' kicks off the gory mayhem inside a nightclub where hundreds of unsuspecting patrons dance their final dance while a massively large contraption effectively mows everyone down. Even the poor DJ is taken out in one fell swoop just as she's about to beat-match into the next electro tune to keep the bloody party going. The few remaining survivors scramble for their lives, only to discover the entire building has been booby-trapped with other grisly fatal devices — one of which flattens a terrified group of partygoers into pancakes. Those that continue to survive are left to confront the cruel mastermind of this horrifying night, a large hulking mass wearing a frightful, expressionless mask with gleaming eyes.
Credit is due for being a shocking opener, promising the potential for more surprises down the line; however, this potential and assurance is quickly squandered once the movie spirals into familiar, mind-numbingly dull torture-porn territory. Meaning, it's all visuals and a gruesome display of body horror, but lacking soul and characters worth caring about. Once the chaos at the nightclub settles, a boringly simplistic plot begins to percolate that sees a team of gung-ho stereotypes — which, of course, are never a match for our diabolical maniac — entering the killer's secret lair in hopes of rescuing a rich man's daughter, Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick). How that's relevant is pretty clear since she's apparently the most important person from a massacre of hundreds.
The filmmakers also make it a point to show that Elena requires a hearing aide but do nothing particularly special with that fact, which implies either a very lame attempt at winning our sympathies or a lack of imagination because the makers just thought it was a cool idea. Ignoring this unused character device, the script, written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, the team behind the 'Feast' series and the last four 'Saw' entries, draws attention back to the rescue mission, led by the highly-determined Lee Tergesen. His guide to the killer's location is petty thief Arkin O'Brien (Josh Stewart), who reminds audiences this slow-moving horror spectacle is a follow-up sequel to 2009's 'The Collector.' He's apparently been living inside the same red trunk that we last saw him in.
Here, Arkin tags along for the mission somewhat begrudgingly and fearfully nervous of being recaptured after an opportune escape which left Elena in the hands of the masked lunatic. Bu,t as we would expect from such a formulaic storyline, the character soon enough builds the courage to confront his captor with far greater ease than those supposedly military-trained caricatures which do little else than serve as fodder to the killer's ghastly hobby. Inside the maniac's house of horrors, there's a sense that Melton and Dunstan (who also takes director's credit) provide fans of the first movie more insight into the crazed murderer's personality and history. Unfortunately, it's nothing earth-shattering or the least bit innovative, aligning the character as Jigsaw's dumber cousin.
In fact, the one lowly positive of 'The Collection' is in the stage design, demonstrating that while completely off his rocker, the psychopath still possesses a talent for interior design. Although, a cleaning lady at least once a week wouldn't hurt either. Like Jigsaw, this wannabe horror icon has a taste for painfully gruesome booby traps. His haunted carnival funhouse actually manages to make this sequel barely passable and decently entertaining, in spite of largely feeling like a laughably weak imitation of yet another 'Saw' installment. If you have nothing better to do, you could do far worse than watch this movie, but you could also do so much better.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Lionsgate Home Entertainment brings 'The Collection' to Blu-ray on a Region A locked, BD25 disc with an UltraViolet Digital Copy code. The disc is housed inside a blue, eco-vortex case with cardboard slipcover. At startup, viewers can skip through several trailers before being greeted by a standard menu screen with full-motion clips and music.
'The Collection' goes on display with a fantastic and highly-detailed 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode. Fine lines in the architecture and furniture of the killer's hiding place are razor-sharp. Blood stains, grime and other unknown goo are splattered along the walls and streaming down every corner. The smallest imperfection in the dilapidated building is perfectly visible while every rust mark and flaw in the killer's macabre instruments is clear and resolute. Clothing reveals each stitch and threading, and facial complexions appear healthy with a lifelike texture that exposes every pore, scratch, and blemish.
Presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, the transfer comes with spot-on contrast and crisp, brilliant whites, providing the picture with excellent visibility into the dark, grimy hallways. Black levels are rich and penetrating with strong shadow delineation, or at least when the intentionally dark photography allows for the tiniest object to be seen. Although the overall palette seems rather limited, primaries are vibrant and energetic, especially the reds, while secondary hues are bold and full-bodied. An ultra-fine layer of grain is present and consistent, giving this high-def presentation an attractive cinematic appeal.
The horror sequel also arrives with an excellent and often highly-engaging DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. It's generally a front-heavy mix with much of the action and music spread across three main channels. With a wealth of off-screen effects, the soundstage feels wide and expansive with well-balanced separation and flawless movement. Dynamic range is surprisingly extensive with rich, room-penetrating clarity in the mids and clean distinction in the upper ranges, making all the bone-crushing, grisly deaths all the more gruesome. A robust and responsive low-end adds plenty of weight and some authority to the music and action sequences. All the while, vocals remain intelligible and well-prioritized.
Rear activity offers a great deal of fun as well, delivering a variety of atmospherics which are sure to please. The happy cheers and roars of partygoers inside the dance club fill the room. Deadly contraptions can be heard hanging overhead in several scenes, and random noises in the distance while inside the killer's home generate a satisfyingly immersive soundfield. Panning and directionality are outstanding with many key moments adding the suspense and terrifying environment. Overall, it's a first-rate lossless mix fans will thoroughly enjoy.
'The Collection' is the sequel to a 2009 horror movie that's slowly gaining a cult following. Unfortunately, despite the added violence and gruesome displays of gory mayhem, this torture-porn follow-up delivers very little in terms of entertainment and becomes a tedious chore to finish. The Blu-ray comes with a shockingly excellent audio and video presentation, which makes it somewhat easy to sit through. With a decent collection of features, this is a good disc for a bad flick.