I remember when the commercials for this were airing that I dismissed it without really giving it much thought. Imagine my surprise when I was actually pulled in and writing notes immediately during the opening scene which I will come to in a second. As a general overview of the plot, The Collection follows the only person to escape a serial killer that uses elaborate traps and has a penchant for murdering in groups and then taking one person back to his “collection”. This man, Arkin, is then coerced to return to where he was tormented in order to save the latest victim of The Collector.
Now then, the pre- and post-opening credits scenes are both so well done. They quickly and succinctly set the tone for the film and what it is that it is about. It shows the senseless violence that happens in life, even without some psycho killer. Life isn’t fair and promises that “everything will be alright” don’t actually mean anything when it comes to the vagaries of life. The killer himself is described as having “no pattern”, “targeting men, women, and children” and that it is impossible for police to predict where or who will be next. In this way he becomes that force of nature that can destroy a life. The car accident, natural disaster or any number of unforeseeable, unavoidable events that might destroy us. All this is within the first few minutes of the movie.
The movie also starts with a ludicrously large body count within the first scene where almost all the introduced characters are just offed immediately. Elena is then taken and her father hires a team of badasses to find and rescue her before she killed. Elena isn’t a damsel in distress, though. She is tough and resourceful in her own right and manages to do extremely well even before help arrives. Arkin is also shown being smart and capable even when he is forced to go back into the psycho’s lair at gunpoint. Interestingly enough for the theme of the week, there is a dual captivity in this with Elena being a prisoner of the killer and Arkin being a prisoner of the rescuers.
The rescue team itself actually made me think a lot of Aliens. A group of hardened soldiers with a survivor of what they are hunting. In this instance you can think of Elena as Newt but don’t because Newt is awful. The house itself is full of traps but ends up feeling less like Home Alone: The Horror Edition than some other types of movies like this. The Collector even has some fairly unique things aside from the standard “spring loaded pointy things” like drugging up the rejects for his collection and using them as guard dogs.
The Collector himself is done extremely well. He is always masked and always silent, making him a perfect embodiment of that “force of nature” I mentioned earlier. You can no more talk to or reason with him than you could a plane crash. They even got a stunt man to play him which means that even if you go look him up to see what was under the mask, it’s not anybody you would recognize. That being said, he is also fallible. People are able to escape him by being fast and clever. He doesn’t just get to do the “slasher teleport” where he just shows up anywhere and can sense where you are hiding. Personally, I like that being shown for a killer in this type of situation instead of the implacable stalker that is something like Jason Voorhees.
The end of the movie is also very well done. It has a fake out ending that I was actually really disappointed with when I thought that that was how it was going to end since it just seemed so…trite. Thankfully, it continued on from there and ended on a much better and more interesting note. I give this movie a 4 out of 5 and would definitely recommend seeing it, especially if you are a fan of the type of movies that it is playing off of.