‘The Collection’ a poor man’s ‘Saw’

This undated publicity film image provided by courtesy of LD Entertainment shows Emma Fitzpatrick as Elena in Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton's film, Show caption
This undated publicity film image provided by courtesy of LD Entertainment shows Emma Fitzpatrick as Elena in Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton's film, "The Collection." (AP Photo/Courtesy LD Entertainment, Bob Mahoney)

Reviewer’s Rating: ★

Nothing screams “quality horror movie” like the sequel to a rejected spin-off of the “Saw” series. “The Collection” picks up the bloody pieces where “The Collector” left off, but all the buckets of fake blood in the world can’t hide the fact that it is nothing more than a brainless, scareless “Saw” wannabe.

The wild dance party that Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick) attends with her friends takes a turn for the sinister when she wanders away from the dance floor and discovers a large red chest. Arkin (Josh Stewart), the only survivor of the first movie in the series, tumbles out of the chest, triggering a trap.

The Collector, the evil mastermind behind it all, appears and kidnaps Elena. Though Arkin manages to escape, he is forced by Elena’s wealthy father, Mr. Peters (Christopher McDonald), to join a team of mercenaries hired to infiltrate the Collector’s lair and rescue the girl.

The film’s ridiculously gory beginning sets the stage for a story designed to showcase as many gruesome deaths as possible. The mercenary team that drags Arkin along on the mission are clearly there to die, so the movie becomes a matter of waiting for the next meathead you don’t care about to set off a tripwire and fall into one of the Collector’s traps.

Elena and Arkin are at least a little wilier, but they are also such cardboard cutouts that the only time the audience will remember that they’re supposed to be real flesh and blood humans is when they start spilling said flesh and blood.

The movie’s biggest problem isn’t even the tendency to substitute gore for suspense or the cardboard characters. No, the worst thing about “The Collection” is that its big baddie is as unimaginative and straightforward as his deathtraps. While most of the movie takes place in a museum/warehouse full of his nasty little trophies, we never get a sense of his personality or that he wants anything more than to be evil for evil’s sake. There’s no ideology, no methodology, no mystery. It also doesn’t help that his mask looks downright goofy.

As mentioned earlier, the first “Collector” movie was originally going to be part of the “Saw” universe and was written and directed by the man who helmed “Saws” IV, V, VI and “Saw 3D.” It’s pretty obvious that “The Collection” wishes it was a “Saw” movie, and falls short of the already low standards of its role model.

For instance, at least Jigsaw from the “Saw” movies had a motive, however thin, for his murders. The Collector just collects, and that’s it. What’s worse is that his traps are surprisingly boring, given the fact that the movie exists solely as an excuse to kill people in novel ways. There are plenty of wince-inducing moments, but the Collector’s traps lack the macabre personal touch that was the “Saw” series’ calling card, at least in the first couple of movies.

“The Collection” as a film is very similar to the deathtraps that the titular villain assembles. It is violent, bloody, implausible, and devoid of style and creativity. The only thing this movie should be collecting is dust, once it is quickly and inevitably forgotten.