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A man who escapes from the vicious grips of the serial killer known as "The Collector" is blackmailed to rescue an innocent girl from the killer's booby-trapped warehouse.
For more about The Collection and the The Collection Blu-ray release, see the The Collection Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on March 20, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Josh Stewart, Christopher McDonald, Navi Rawat, Lee Tergesen, Anne Marie Howard, Tim Griffin
Director: Marcus Dunstan
» See full cast & crew
The Collection Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, March 20, 2013
In 1965 a rather unlikely director attempted his only foray into the horror genre. The legendary William Wyler, the man behind fare as disparate as Ben-Hur, The Best Years of Our Lives and Roman Holiday, took on the filmic adaptation of a John Fowles bestseller called The Collector. This disturbing story of a lonely young man who kidnaps a young girl and keeps her captive in a fortress like building on the grounds of his abandoned estate was basically a "two hander" for stars Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar, both of whom won best acting awards at Cannes that year (Eggar and Wyler went on to Oscar nominations, though neither of them won in a year dominated by The Sound of Music, a film that had ironically evidently been offered to Wyler at one point, but which he declined to direct). One of the most interesting things about The Collector is how, aside from one or two overtly violent moments, the film crafts its absolute terror from its situation and from intimations rather than outright depictions of nasty goings on. It was a different time, obviously, but the lesson that less is often more seems to have fallen by the wayside more and more to younger filmmakers, who seemingly feel almost compelled to put every outrageously hideous image they can think of up there on the screen for audiences to "revel" in. As I discussed in my The Collector Blu-ray review (vis a vis the 2009 film bearing the same name as the Wyler opus), one fervently wishes for a little minimalism now and again, or at least a dash of subtlety. A lot of horror fans have taken me to task for what they perceive as a genetic dislike for films like The Collector (2009 version) or Saw: The Final Chapter, but my beef isn't with the horror genre per se (I absolutely love a good scare), but with the often ham-handed way current genre "specialists" go about crafting their films. There's little doubt that writer-director Marcus Dunstan, who has had a hand (severed or otherwise) in several Saw films and who is the guiding force behind both 2009's The Collector and this follow-up, loves this genre and knows how to suck every available ounce of blood and guts out of what some have termed "torture porn". But there's a difference between shock for shock's sake and something that penetrates into deeper layers of the consciousness, let alone emotions.
And so let me just state up front as clearly as possible: if you are a fan of this particular subgenre, chances are you are going to love this film. It offers just enough plot to catapult its players through a series of increasingly gruesome deaths, not to mention sidebars including maimings, eviscerations, knives through the face, steel poles through various appendages, crushings, tramplings, dicing and slicing and virtually every other imaginable method of spilling copious amount of blood and/or guts. But by that very definition (and/or description), it should be clear that The Collection is a film made for a relatively narrow niche market. If something as relatively tame as the shower scene in Psycho scared the living daylights out of you, for example, The Collection is most definitely not the film for you.
The Collector, introduced (but never fully seen) in the first film, is still at large, killing scores of people but taking one victim from each crime scene captive, victims who are never heard from again. Enter Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick), a pretty young woman who is invited to an underground rave only to see the party devolve into a scene of carnage when Elena stumbles on the iconic trunk from the first film. It probably goes without saying that Elena soon finds herself captive, but in one of this film's few unexpected twists, Arkin (Josh Stewart) from the first film achieves his own freedom and is soon working with a bunch of mercenaries to track down The Collector and free any remaining prisoners.
The rest of The Collection spools out pretty much exactly as you would expect. One by one, the mercenaries are killed in increasingly spectacularly violent ways. Elena frees herself, only to be recaptured (repeatedly). (In fact Elena spends the vast swath of this film in various cages.) Elena manages to find an unlikely ally of sorts in Abby (Erin Way), a longtime captive who professes to be The Collector's "favorite". It probably doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what happens to her.
Director Marcus Dunstan knows exactly what he wants to achieve in The Collection, and he does a commendable job in expertly staging the grisly death scenes. The film is also laudable in that it relies relatively infrequently on horror tropes like jump cuts with attendant low frequency sound effects which provoke a startle response but are kind of gimmicky nonethleless. But this is a pretty by the numbers exercise, one which is obviously in the mold of the Saw films (the cover of this release trumpets Dunstan's involvement with the Saw franchise). It's competent, it's bloody, it's gruesome, and even occasionally a little funny, but it's also surprisingly rote and predictable.
The Collection Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Collection is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate Films with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.34:1. This is a pretty spectacular looking high definition presentation, for better or worse, by which I mean for those with squeamish stomachs, the graphic violence, blood and gore which is so well defined in this presentation may be (not to pun horribly) overkill for some. Colors are very well saturated, and fine detail is exceptional in close-ups. Best of all, solid contrast gives this release a pop in its many dark and shadowy sequences which actually ups the anxiety level, since you can make out what's going on in the less than well lit environments. The image is very sharp and precise, and other than some very slight stability issues on some close cropped patterns, no artifacts of any kind were noticed.
The Collection Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Collection features an often quite boisterous lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that offers consistent immersion and surround activity and some nicely fulsome low end. The film has a nice variety of ambient effects, varying from the crowded dance hall in the opening sequence to some of the more isolated expanses of the abandoned hotel where The Collector does his dirty work. Dialogue is presented very cleanly and clearly, and a number of the gruesome death sequences come replete with very realistic sound effects, often presented with excellent discrete channelization. Fidelity is excellent and dynamic range is very wide.
The Collection Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Collection Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
As stated above, genre fans are probably going to love this release, though my hunch is some of the more forthcoming fans might be willing to admit that this film is a pretty rote rehash of at least some elements in the Saw franchise. There are undeniable scares to be found in The Collection, and this Blu-ray looks and sounds spectacular. But I for one wish someone could reinvent the horror genre without revisiting so many tired ideas, and so much gratuitous violence and mayhem. To younger filmmakers who insist on throwing everything imaginable at the screen to see how much gore sticks, I would simply offer the age old mantra: less is more.
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The Collection Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Collection Blu-ray - January 8, 2013
Lionsgate Films have officially announced that they will release on Blu-ray director Marcus Dunstan's horror thriller The Collection (2012), starring Patrick Melton, Emma Fitzpatrick, Marcus Dunstan, Christopher McDonald, and Navi Rawat. The release will hit retail ...
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