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Review: The Collection

The Collection has a great ending. Like Jee-woon Kim’s gleefully gritty I Saw the Devil, it pushes the viewer uncomfortably close to the gray areas of morality, promising a terrifying roller coaster ride through the darkest depths of the human soul, where the razor thin lines between good and evil, right and wrong, and man and monster blur beyond recognition.

Too bad the rest of the film is such generic, by-the-numbers, torture porn trash. 

I don’t use the term “torture porn” lightly, either; it’s been so abused by critics that it no longer actually means anything. But as much as I despise the inherent dismissiveness of the term, The Collection perfectly embodies every single negative image it evokes; from start to finish, this Stealth Sequel to 2009’s The Collector is an orgy of gore, celebrating bloodshed to the point of self-parody. 

How deliriously farcical does the action get? Less than ten minutes after the opening credits roll, a giant lawnmower descends from the ceiling of a super-secret dance club and decapitates, dismembers, and otherwise pulverizes dozens of innocent young ravers. This simple gag raises several questions, of course (Did the killer organize the party himself, or did he somehow manage to rig the contraption without the actual owner of the property noticing? Was the shady doorman an accomplice, or was he just as clueless as that poor, unfortunate DJ?), but none quite as significant as “What filmmaker in his right mind makes his movie’s most elaborate sequence literally the first thing that happens?” Frankly, it’s the very definition of bad plotting; if you start your story with something so over-the-top, it doesn’t leave much room for escalation.

[Originally written December 4, 2012.]

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