BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Collection
Sequel To 2009 Horror Thriller Hits Hi-Def Home Video...
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If you're a fan of horror films - and particularly those horror films which include torture and grotesqueness - you're probably a fan of the 2009 Marcus Dunstan film The Collector. Taking its name and some of its premise from the original 1965 offering from director William Wyler, this modern horror gorefest attempts to derive scares from the tension created by a thief caught in the middle of a family's abduction and murder. While the thief attempts to help the family being terrorized, he himself ends up a victim at the end of the Collector's blades, tortured and taken himself. This of course leads directly into the most recent offering from director Marcus Dunstan - The Collection - which outdoes the 2009 film in every aspect save subtlety (and there was very little of that in The Collector I might add).
Written by Patrick Melton and directed by Marcus Dunstan, The Collection picks up almost immediately following the conclusion to the previous film. Arkin, the thief and main character from the first film (Josh Stewart) who had been kidnapped and kept by The Collector, escapes during a brutal mass murder in which new main character Elena Peters, a wealthy student (played by Emma Fitzpatrick), is taken. Mr. Peters, a man of great wealth and prestige, has the monetary resources necessary to mount a search and rescue and thus forces Arkin to take his squad of heavily armed mercenaries into a frightening, labyrinth-like warehouse where the Collector stores his collection.
Again, if you're a fan of this grotesque, torture-filled genre which includes such fan-favorites as the Saw series, the Hostel series, and others blood-soaked celluloid, you'll probably love The Collection. There's nothing really inherently great about the film nor is there anything really that bad about it. Like its predecessor, The Collection sets itself up well and delivers on a number of levels - visually it's striking and gorgeous to watch and the audio is dynamic and delivers plenty of scares and chills. Unfortunately, like some more cerebral films, The Collection lacks any sense of teasing the viewer, instead charging headlong into the brutality and murder that makes up the film's main draw. The acting is on par with other genre films as are the effects and make up. If anything, the production design is much more impressive than anticipated as the Collector's collection is something out of a Clive Barker book, horrid in its design and yet seemingly familar all the same. It's clear director Dustan knows what he wants the audience to see, hear and feel and he accomplishes it; the look and feel of the Collector's shocking fun house comes to life with unknown and ensures both frights and fun for viewers.
The hi-def video transfer is gorgeous presented in 1080p in the film's native 2.34:1 aspect ratio. The colors and lighting used throughout accentuate the shadows lurking around every corner, the gore soaked corpses lying in every in every room, and the frightening victims collected by the brutal killer. Likewise, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track delivers an impressive opportunity to dynamically engage the viewer. The film's vast range - from the still and quite within the Collector's warehouse to the boisterous noise of a packed night club - provides an engaging audio experience.
As for special features, The Collection blu-ray includes a number worth enjoying, specifically a feature length audio commentary with director Marcus Dunstan and Writer Patrick Melton. It's clear the duo made a lot of informed and studied decisions when making the film and they don't mind sharing their insight. The pair talk constantly which is appreciated considering some film makers during commentary talk only during the scenes they feel are important to discuss. Other special features include three alternate scenes (which don't really add to the film in any major way) as well as a number of featurettes ranging from 4 minutes to 6 minutes long. These include "A Director's Vision," "Makeup and Effects of 'The Collection'," "Production Design," "Special Effects of 'The Collection'" and "Stunts of 'The Collection'". Each does a solid job of introducing varying aspects of the film's creators and production and those who enjoyed the mass murder, gore and blood will appreciate the behind-the-scenes look at the effects, makeup and stunts from the film.
Oddly enough, while I don't consider myself a fan of the gore-infused torture horror genre, I do consider myself a fan of The Collection and its predecessor The Collector. Both films tell a taunt story filled with frights and, while the subtle nuances that make other thrillers more cerebral are clearly missing, this pair of films does at least tell an engaging story about one man's determination and struggle to survive no matter the cost.
Be sure to pick up both The Collection and The Collector now on blu-ray hi-def wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C Horsley