I walked into a showing of The Collection operating under the impression that it was going to be an original horror movie. And yes, I understand the trailer looks like a horribly derivative Saw knock-off starring The Gimp from Pulp Fiction, but I only mean “original” in the sense that I thought this was the first entry in a new franchise. As it turns out, The Collection is a sequel to the 2009 torture porn flick The Collector, which somehow flew under my radar. Writer/director Marcus Dunstan penned both movies in addition to Saw V, Saw VI, and Saw 3D: The Final Chapter. So just to get it all straight: The Collection is a sequel to a derivative knock-off of a bloated, decade old torture porn franchise. That sounds somehow incestuous and wrong. Even for Hollywood.
If you’ve seen any of The Saw movies, then you already know what The Collection is about. A Gimp-masked serial killer constructs elaborate deathtraps and torture devices and uses them to terrorize America’s stupidest teenagers. In this movie no fewer than sixty trust fund kiddies get maimed or dismembered, most of them in an early sequence in which the serial killer reduces an obnoxious, underground rave into a pile of bloody meat.
The sole female survivor (played by professional Natalie Portman-lookalike Emma Fitzpatrick) watches in horror as a dance floor full of drunken ravers are dismembered by a giant combine that descends from the ceiling. Those that aren’t killed by the whirring blades of the combine are captured beneath a giant hydraulic press and crushed like so many grapes. Other lemmings have their throats slashed by a variety of hidden blades that look like they were lifted from the temple at the end of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.
In this early sequence writer/director Dunstan clearly tries to impress upon us how brilliant and twisted his villain is in transforming a club into a mechanized bloodbath. And I’ll admit that building complex deathtraps probably requires a high degree of ingenuity. But the fact that the Gimp’s traps are so elaborate is precisely what makes The Collection one of the most idiotic movies of 2012.
At the beginning of the movie, we’re told that the bad guy has already massacred over fifty civilians, mostly by booby trapping people’s homes and workplaces. Now, I point this out because, within the reality of the movie, the serial killer’s well-publicized modus operandi is to murder people with industrial grade equipment. In a nation where a man can’t even go to Home Depot and by the ingredients for a basic fertilizer bomb without getting a visit from the Department of Homeland Security, I think the purchasing habits of the Gimp would turn a few heads.
The methods of Michael Meyers and Leatherface are somewhat plausible because they keep it simple. Butcher’s knives and chainsaws are easily obtainable. The Gimp, on the other hand, is the most easily catchable serial killer in the history of film. How many people in the Los Angeles area buy industrial and farm equipment wholesale? How many people have the money to buy giant combines and hydraulic presses only to use them once? Either the Gimp is independently wealthy or he steals the funds for his next deathtrap from his victims. In the first instance, the FBI would only have to pay a visit to the limited number of wealthy people who purchase giant hydraulic presses and twirling blades of death on a regular basis; in the second instance, the killer would leave a financial trail so obvious that even Inspector Clouseau could follow it.
But since a heavily retarded logic pervades everyone and everything in The Collection, the only person who knows the whereabouts of the Gimp is some idiot who apparently survived the first movie. A group of mercenaries determined to save the daughter of a wealthy businessman kidnap the guy and force him to take them to the Gimp’s base of operations. In no position to negotiate, the survivor leads them to a seemingly abandoned hotel.
Now we know that the Gimp specializes in murdering people by running them through horrible, metallic deathtraps. Now that our A-Team rejects have found the serial killer’s base of operations, the most logical thing to do would be to either a) stake out the joint, snatch the Gimp whenever he leaves to buy more industrial grade death, and beat the girl’s location out of him or b) call the police and have a SWAT team storm the place. Of course, they choose c) walk through the front door of the serial killer’s lair without telling anybody.
It goes without saying that every member of the team dies a horrible, grizzly death. The Collection is terrible, stupid torture porn with no redeeming qualities. There’s no point or skill or artistry behind it. Just 82 agonizing minutes of people being eviscerated, dismembered, and impaled. While I typically love horror, The Collection is the most thoroughly unpleasant movie I’ve experienced at the cinema. Fuck this movie and fuck anyone who would make something this lazy and nauseating.