Movie review: 'Collection' winds up as boring horror film

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This movie was not previewed for Pittsburgh critics.

It may sound odd to call the horror film "The Collection" joyless, but if you can't have a little fun while killing, maiming and torturing people, why bother?

The movie, a sequel to 2009's gorenographic "The Collector," about a psychopathic kidnapper with a fondness for bondage hoods and booby traps, is notably dull and repetitive, even by the standards of an already repetitive genre.

'The Collection'
  • Starring: Randall Archer, Emma Fitzpatrick, Josh Stewart, Lee Tergesen.
  • Rating: R for grisly images, graphic violence, obscenity and brief nudity.
  • Note: The Washington Post does not give star ratings.

  • There are, however, a couple of startling set pieces, which should please fans of this sort of thing.

    The opening scene, set in a techno dance club, features a massacre by means of a soil-tiller-like mechanism that churns through the sweaty crowd, reducing several dozen sexy extras to a pile of buff, if bloody, body parts in a matter of minutes. This is the MO of the killer (played in the first film by Juan Fernandez and here by Randall Archer, with a wordless menace that somehow manages to feel stiff and amateurish, even under a face-obscuring mask): gruesome mass murder, followed by the kidnapping of a single remaining victim.

    In "The Collection," that victim is dance-club patron Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick), a rich kid who soon finds herself crammed into in a steamer trunk next to the survivor -- and hero -- of the first film, petty criminal Arkin (Josh Stewart).

    He somehow manages to escape; she doesn't. The action of this film centers on the mission to rescue Elena by a team of mercenaries (led by Lee Tergesen) that Elena's daddy (Christopher McDonald) has hired. They force Arkin, against his will, to lead them back to the "Collector's" fetid booby-trapped lair.

    What follows is a tedious game of cat-and-mouse, if you can imagine that the "cat" looks like the Gimp from "Pulp Fiction" and that the "mice" get dispatched by a variety of medieval-looking stakes and skewers, appearing out of nowhere.

    It's pretty predictable stuff until one scene involving a cage from which Elena and Arkin are trying to escape.

    I don't want to spoil anyone's enjoyment, but the potential pleasure of the scene -- or for those with weaker constitutions, its profound unpleasantness -- can be gauged precisely by how you reacted to watching the famous 1985 footage of Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann's leg being broken on national television during a punishing sack by Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants.

    "The Collection" makes that nauseating sequence look like nothing.

    Met more by moans and groans of disgust than by screaming, the film is a slightly below-average example of what contemporary horror has become.

    It isn't so much scary as it is depressing.



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