After Arkin (Josh Stewart) was taken by The Collector at the end of the first movie, the villain has set his sights on a new target. The girl’s name is Elena Emma Fitzpatrick) and she happens to be the daughter of a very rich widower (Christopher McDonald). While Elena was being taken, Arkin manages to escape from The Collector’s clutches but he finds himself unwillingly returning to his hideout after he is blackmailed into joining a “rescue team” led by the family’s security expert Lucello (Lee Tergesen) to save the girl.
In the sequel, The Collector has graduated from simple home invasion and torture to massacre as he ruthlessly and efficiently eliminates an entire club of partygoers to get to his target. On one hand, it seemed badass because it escalated the villain’s MO but at the same time, I felt it was a kind of showboating to employ the shock factor.
While the sequel tried to remain consistent with the first movie, it seemed determined to top the original by employing more props, special effects, victims and decapitated bodies that seemed a bit over the top since it was established in the beginning that there was massive manhunt being conducted against the serial killer, and yet the hideout remained untouched. The Collector’s operation also seemed very organized and well funded as he was able to turn an abandoned hotel into his very own torture chamber with no one the wiser. The amount of equipment within the facility was bound to be expensive and with no backstory to support it , it seemed implausible at best. Turning an old laboratory into his hideout would have been better for the story.
If audiences suspend their disbelief for a moment, they will again find themselves biting their fingernails as Group 1: Arkin and the mercenaries and Group B: Elena, try to find their way our of the maze of booby traps that The Collector has set throughout the building. While predictable, horror lovers will get more than their fair share of brutal death scenes and action scenes as there are some pretty tough characters (although a bit cliche) that were cast.
And forget character development, this movie didn’t intend for audiences to care about the characters at all and just went on to proceed with the hack and slash which was its main difference from the first movie. The second film relied on shock while the first took its time to tease and taunt with the audiences’ psyche before it delivered on the gore.
As a result, the characters in the sequel seemed a little too good to be true — too tough, too resourceful, too noble, too much of everything — well except for Arkin because he has solidified his position in the viewers’ minds in the first movie. After all he went through, he earned it like a badge of honor. For the rest, they were kind of meh, instead of kickass like they were supposed to.
All in all, the sequel had a bigger budget ($10 M) a bigger cast and a bigger story. It had good execution but somehow, I couldn’t help but feel like it was relying too much on flash rather than substance as it didn’t stay very true to the original concept of the film. Like the character of The Collector in Part 1 and 2. The sequel relied on quantity over quality (remember the torture scenes from Part 1?) and for this, it became the weaker version.