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Not quite as good as the predecessor...,
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This review is from: The Collection [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I was more than pumped to see this film. I thought the first one was outstanding. I loved the creativity of it, the intrigue of this mysterious villain (the titular Collector), and the tension/suspense that made several of the sequences in the first film so memorable for me. It wasn't flawless but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it regardless. So upon hearing of a sequel, I was chomping at the bit to learn more about this strange new addition to the pantheon of horror villains.
Did The Collection deliver? ...Eh, kind of. I walked away from this film quite frankly a little disappointed. I think this film had the potential to be a really great horror film. I'm not saying it was a bad horror film. It had the gore, the body count, traps (for want of a better term), and plenty of our masked madman. Yet, it was just lacking in three key departments that really hurt the film's overall impact and value, keeping it from standing taller than its predecessor:
Part what made the first film work for me were those tense stalking, walking, whatever moments. Or the chases. Who can forget that great shot where the camera goes vertical above the two rooms to watch Arkin trying to be quiet and the Collector pursuing him. Very tense and kept you interested. These scenes made the film exciting because they weren't simply the typical chase scenes, they had a little style and momentum to them that allowed their impact. The Collection, on the other hand, has none of those types of sequences. There are chases and cat & mouse stuff galore don't think me a liar but none of them are tense or exciting. They play out in rather predictable slasher fashion. Entering the den of the killer who can appear anywhere and it ends up feeling more like a carnival spook house than a genuine sequence of suspense. That was a bit of a let down because I thought the story had real potential for some tense scenes but ...
Ok, ok, I know we're talking The Collection here not Silence of the Lambs. And don't think I'm a high brow snob here either (hell, I'm one of probably 8 people that thought A Serbian Film was disturbing and artistic) but, again I have to be honest they just dropped the ball. I wanted to know more about the collector or learn about the collection or how or why or when or what etc. To be fair some of those questions do get answers in a remarkably hurried coda at the end of the film that was most unsatisfying in my opinion. What made Jigsaw a compelling character was a) Tobin Bell's performance, b) the intrigue of his method/madness, and c) that we learned more about him, his history, and the way he thinks in each film. Even Freddy got a little more in depth each go round (with varying degrees of success). But here, I'm just left hungry. I'm not at all saying the film needed to be a biopic about him or some prequel or ANYTHING like that. Just a little bit of insight as we go is all I'm asking.
The characters were just schlocky in this one though, I'm sorry. The first one was simple and I thought well done. We don't have an innocent hero, we have a criminal in the wrong place at the wrong time. He's real and we root for him. I don't root for sweet virginal recycled archetypes. Maybe I'm alone in that but I don't really take an interest in someone who has no personality other than they are ...good I guess? It takes very little time and a good actor to get an audience to connect with a character but all the characters just feel like leftovers from the last Hellraiser sequel. And I like these actors in other stuff! The characters themselves, the way they are written and "developed" are so poor that it is honestly distracting. Arkin was awesome in the first one, and he wasn't bad here but it was just missing that charm.
And I can't be the only one that wanted to see more of the actual collection or spend a little time with those he captures rather than the immediate escape escapade.
Now no one can accuse this film of not delivering in terms of the body count - which I was really thrilled about. That night club thing does beg the question of "how did he ever put that together without someone noticing?" but hey it was fun so who cares? I was just...disappointed I guess is the best word. The traps are aplenty but very repetitive and boring in my opinion. Two iron maiden type traps? Lots of spikes? I don't know, just wanted something more bizarre or eccentric. Setting up bear traps in a home or covering a floor with glue (like in the first one) I can kind of see, but all these foot triggered traps make me question his engineering background. Like I said, I can not fault them on gore, body count, or anything like that, I guess I was just expecting more variety or creativity in the kills as the film rolled on.
Let me state again: this is NOT A BAD MOVIE. It does its job, it is a perfect midnight feature, and not a bad addition. I think the fault may partially lie with me just being too excited to see it. Who knows? But I do stand by my three gripes as I feel like the film really could have been something great instead of something that was alright. So it is certainly worth a watch for any horror fan and especially fans of the first film. I would merely caution such fans to ratchet back their expectations if they are anything like me. Here's hoping for a third film that may return to the original's feel.