Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #303
Number of Views: One
Release Date: November 30, 2012
Sub-Genre: Home Invasion/Extreme Exploitation
Country of Origin: United States
Box Office: $6,800,000
Running time: 82 minutes
Director: Marcus Dunstan
Producers: Brett Forbes, Julie Richardson, Patrick Rizzotti, Mickey Liddell
Screenplay: Marcus Dunstan, Patrick Melton
Special Effects: Chris Bailey, Robert Hall
Visual Effects: Chris Bailey
Cinematography: Sam McCurdy
Score: Charlie Clouser
Editing: Mark Stevens, Kevin Greutert
Studios: Fortress Features, LD Entertainment
Distributors: LD Entertainment, Cinema Management Group
Stars: Josh Stewart, Emma Fitzpatrick, Christopher McDonald, Lee Tergesen, Shannon Kane, Tim Griffin, Andre Royo, Randall Archer, Brandon Molale, Erin Way, Johanna Braddy, Michael Nardelli, Will Peltz, Daniel Sharman, Justin Mortelliti, Navi Rawat
Suggested Audio Candy:
Charlie Clouser Out Of The Fire
Kevin McAllister can fuck off and die. That obnoxious little puddle of phlegm deserved everything that was coming to him if you ask me and I will freely admit to wanting nothing more than for Joe Pesci to catch up with the little shit and go Casino on his scrawny ass. I spent my entire life waiting; firstly for the glut of inevitable Home Alone sequels to subside, and secondly, for someone with enough balls to give us an antithesis. Then in 2009, with the term ‘torture porn’ being flung about like a diaphragm in a locker room, The Collector arrived and my wildest dreams were finally realized. Marcus Dunstan had a hand in writing entries for both the Saw and Feast series before trying his hand at donning the directorial hat and making his own waves. His home invasion movie gone inexplicably wrong turned the tables on petty burglar Arkin (Josh Stewart) in some style and performed just well enough at the box office to justify continuation. I’m pleased as punch that it did.
The agoraphobic killer’s first outing was the epitome of solid; well paced, structured and played with plenty of inventive dispatches to keep the endorphins flailing. It made minimal fuss in setting up and the remainder of our time was spent checking every crawlspace and dark recess for trip wires and pressure pads. Thankfully Dunstan kept faith with the formula and made it his labor of love to elaborate further. This sequel may not have set the world ablaze in terms of box office receipts but it has gone on to become a Netflix favorite and gained its own cult following. It also doesn’t tinker with the formula and, as far as sequels are concerned, there are few as workmanlike as The Collection.
Just as before, he dallies not in introducing us to our lemmings and within the first fifteen minutes we are ensnared once again. Determined not to rest on his laurels, he chooses a heaving nightclub full of sweaty revelers as the playground for a most unabashed opening trap. If your attention hasn’t been snagged by the time rows of ceiling-mounted combine harvester jaws mince their way through 99% of the patrons, then you need to be asking yourselves some pretty hefty questions. How many movies have the audacity to gift us a human smoothie full-bodied enough to quench even the most demanding of appetites? The moment calls to mind both the lawnmower scene from Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive and opening vivisection from Steve Beck’s Ghost Ship; with excessive murder on the dancefloor and enough sheared off limbs to fashion a thousand makeshift Durgas. One could be forgiven for expecting Dunstan to have shot his load prematurely but he still has plenty left in the sack and is already hard at work lining up the dominoes.
Arkin finds it just too enticing putting himself back in the firing line a second time although a little blackmail assists him in coming to his decision. A moneyed man’s precious daughter Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick) has become the collector’s latest acquisition and is holed up in a trunk in an undisclosed location. Enter a gang of grizzled mercenaries and it is here that Dunstan shows his love of Aliens and Blade II and ramps shit up in an attempt to expand on the formula. Alas, as much as they look the part, they’re ultimately just fodder. As before, there are plenty of half-savaged stragglers meandering about like moths to the proverbial flame and it matters not that we can see their demises coming from a country mile off, what’s more intriguing is the manner in which they succumb.
Stewart is once again excellent and exhibits all the weary motivation of a man who refuses to be beat that he did three years prior. In addition, Fitzpatrick fares equally well as the plucky Elena and has a handle on the histrionics as she stumbles from one precarious situation to the next. The collector himself (this time played by Randall Archer although you wouldn’t know it from behind the gimp mask) is our most bankable character as he pulls the strings with conviction and purpose. This time out it isn’t all about the traps and he shows a willingness to get his leather gloves bloody anytime his subjects look primed to escape. This shows another entirely different side to his game and provides his character more steel although, when the traps do become triggered, it’s very much business as usual.
It’s a bold decision by Dunstan to resist the urge to do a Final Destination and place all his eggs in a single basket and it pays off for the most part. McAllister may well have been handy when it came to ambushing gormless thieves but his tiny little balls couldn’t conceive the idea of actually putting up his dukes. Daniel Stern would’ve fucked his shit up and he knows it while Pesci would’ve thought nothing of stuffing his duffle bag with a ninth head. By showing he can take a hit without his knees buckling, the collector transcends mere puppetmaster and the vague prospect of a third film swiftly becomes one to salivate over. There are actually a plethora of options at his disposal, especially after such a fascinatingly left field conclusion.
It looks the part for sure; Dunstan imbues his film with all the insular tension and cat-and-mouse shenanigans our hearts could desire. The collector himself is bathed in effervescent rays and cuts an imposing figure. Each trap is just as non-partial as before and blood jettisons at every opportunity, seducing our senses just as it did back in 2009. Ultimately, this is the perfect companion piece to The Collector and Dunstan treads each board with the balance of a film-maker aware of his equilibrium. Are there plot-holes? Large enough to force both your fist and shit kicker through. Are many of the characters superfluous? Lambs to the slaughter for sure. Does it ever threaten to outstay its meager 82 minute running time? Not once. And that’s what it’s all about right?
Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 7/10
Grue Factor: 4/5
For the Grue-Guzzlers: Your cup will runeth over in the opening act alone and the blood-sopping nightclub scene is the reason YouTube was invented in the first place. In true Hangover-style the end credits again provide us with the ideal recap as every character’s demise is placed under the microscope with often gut-busting results. If you have a penchant for all things grisly then your appetites will unreservedly be sated here.
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2014