When Elena is talked into attending an underground warehouse party with her friends, she finds herself caught in a nightmarish trap where the revelers are mowed, sliced and crushed to death by a macabre series of contraptions operated by a masked psychopath. When the grisly massacre is over, Elena is the only survivor. But before she can escape, she is locked in a trunk and transported to an unknown location. Fortunately for Elena, one man-Arkin -knows exactly where she's headed, having just escaped from there with his life and sanity barely intact. Elena's wealthy father hires a crack team of mercenaries to force Arkin to lead them to the killer's lair. But even these hardened warriors are not prepared for what they encounter: an abandoned hotel-turned-torture-chamber, rigged with deadly traps and filled with mangled corpses. Can Arkin and the team get to Elena before she too becomes part of his gruesome "collection"?
Down in the dumps since the Saw franchise ended (maybe), thereby dashing hopes for an ongoing stream of big-screen torture porn? Take heart--The Collection is part two of a presumably continuing series that gets up close and personal with a mysterious psychopath and his ingeniously gruesome death machines. The violence is in the service of a story that makes little sense and exists only to expose human flesh to all the ghastly mangling Saw aficionados have been jonesing for. As a sequel to 2009's The Collector, this unrelenting gore-fest follows the same mute, hulking brute cloaked and hooded in black as he rigs the decrepit sets with all manner of Rube Goldberg-like killing devices. Arkin (Josh Stewart), the lone survivor of The Collector, is tricked into revisiting the monster's milieu when a team of mercenaries set out to rescue a rich girl (Emma Fitzpatrick) trapped in the maniac's trunk and strung up in the meat locker of his human butcher shop. Director Marcus Dunstan (a writer of several Saw entries) starts with an enormous human threshing machine that mows down a club full of dumb kids. In short order Dunstan and his Collector get much more detailed with the flaying and rending of the rest of the cast in a maze-like house of horrors. Spikes, pikes, spears, and knives make quick work of the hunted. We also see all the grisly trophies referenced in the title that are on display at the Collector's home base. The body count is literally uncountable, beginning with the opening mass murder, and becomes more so when the extraction team starts tripping over the multitude of limbs and organs already scattered about the place. They not only add their own bodies to the mix, but contribute to it themselves by dispatching an army of unexplainably zombified people that pop out to attack them as they go deeper into the abandoned hotel where the Collector maintains his workshop. There is some suspense in anticipating how the maimings will play out (they're all lovingly recapped in the credit sequence), but there's not much explanation as to motive. Unlike the Saw set pieces, the killings in The Collection aren't part of a game, they're just a set of complex executions exacted by elaborate motorized booby traps in sequences that seem to follow no rhyme or reason. Perhaps that's not exactly true; there is a poetic precision to the story that will keep gore junkies well satisfied with a rhythm that is as well designed as it is meticulously imagined. Arkin survives through a teaser epilogue that may turn the tables on the Collector in the inevitable next installment. Until then fans of the genre will be delighted with enough sick and twisted grisliness to make The Collection a coveted collectable all its own. --Ted Fry