Those who havent seen the original film are urged to do so before diving into this sequel. It begins where its predecessor ended, and try as the opening credits might, they fail to adequately acclimate any newcomers, who may be lost.
Not that the new film is deep or complex. It does, however, work best having witnessed what the anti-heroic lead of redeemed thief Arkin (Josh Stewart, Beneath the Dark) already has gone through, beat by beat(ing). Here, its more cat-and-mouse games as he reluctantly leads a team infiltrating The Collector's home base of Hotel Argento (a nod to Italian director Dario, whose penchant for colored gels is shared by this stylish film, whose shadowy corridors look infinitely better on Blu-ray than they did in the theater).
The well-armed group is out to retrieve a very wealthy mans daughter (Emma Fitzpatrick, In Time), kidnapped from a club by the masked, mysterious, malicious Collector (stuntman Randall Archer), but only because she managed to survive his roto-chopping of an entire dance floors worth of ravers and subsequent lowered-ceiling smashing for any good measure.
That mass slaughter is merely the tip of The Collectors iceberg of icing the nice. Hes rigged the Hotel Argento with a series of deadly traps that suggest Jigsaw was hired for some architectural and remodeling work, and therein lies the main appeal of this film and the first one. With his beady eyes glimmering behind an black mask encasing his head, The Collector looks not unlike a spider, and everyone else in the cast is a potential fly.
As is the case with both chapters thus far (steered by the Saw/Piranha sequel writing team of Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, with the latter directing), the proceedings are short on story, long on the lurid. They feel nasty, as horror should, and even if this follow-up loses some grit with several million more dollars in the budget, its black heart and black humor remain. I like both movies a lot, although something tells me I shouldnt. Rod Lott
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