A rookie cop starts her shift like any other but soon it will all change for the worse. A derelict with a reputation of satanic violence, attacks the officer and collars her with a dog leash which is just the start of his abusive ritual.
If you’ve seen anything by writer/director Ryan Nicholson (for example, maybe Live Feed, or Gutterballs, or Hanger), you already have an idea of what you have in store for you in Collar. Nicholson has a way of creating a handful of mostly deplorable characters (and maybe a good person here and there) and then setting them loose into a grimy, seedy environment to berate, torture, and kill each other. His films are dark and often uncomfortable, filled with more gore than you expect, and always leave you feeling like you need a shower after they end. Collar is no different, as it continues the director’s mission of finding new boundaries and then pushing them as hard as he can.
Collar centers around an enormous homeless guy that everyone fittingly calls Massive (played by Nick Principe, who seems to have found his niche in characters like Massive, and Chromeskull from Laid to Rest, and Max Seed in Seed 2). He walks the streets with a shopping cart full of chains and nooses and other assorted weapons, striking fear into everyone, as rumor has it he may be into Satanism. From the intermittent flashbacks, we can safely guess that he was once a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a priest. And he doesn’t seem to have any qualms about not only killing anyone who gets in his way, but just destroying them. But Massive is only one of the nasty characters we meet along the way.
We’ve also got Derrick and Steven (Roger Dunkely II and Fred Levasseur, respectively), a couple of hipster bros intent on making their own version of the deplorable Bum Fights videos. They pay random homeless people to fight each other, sometimes supplying them with lethal weapons to add to the bloodshed. Eventually they catch Massive on video raping a woman (Maria, played by Mihola Terzic, who also played Sarah in Gutterballs), then killing a homeless guy who came in to watch, and the bros decide to follow him around, deciding he’s way more interesting and they don’t even have to pay him. It’s also here that Maria escapes and runs into the police, which introduces our protagonist, and one of the only decent human beings in the entire movie, Dana (Aidan Dee). Maria doesn’t want to give the cops any info, but Dana insists on checking out the situation, at which point she runs into Massive. And this is where things go from nasty to way nastier, as the hulking giant of a sociopath treats the young police officer like a slave and a punching bag.
Massive is up there next to BBK (Gutterballs) in his brutality. He rips off jaws, tears out heart, splits people in half just to eat their insides. He’s got a pentagram carved (or branded) into his throat. He keeps a woman tied to a leash by a collar and cuts upside-down crosses into her battered and bruised flesh. And we don’t need to get into what he does to a pregnant woman. In fact, there are a handful of details I’m holding out of this review, little twists and turns and other bits of nastiness that the viewers need to see on their own.
Collar is one of those movies that a lot of people will say “is not for everyone.” While I tend to stay as far away from that line as possible, in this case, that is probably true. But who it is for is the gorehounds, the sick and twisted, the depraved folks who read my movie reviews and still want to check out some of these movies (or who probably already have them on their shelves at home). There is a ton of blood and gore in this film, often times quite creative kills (let’s not forget the director’s other occupation, that of special effects and makeup master), and more than a couple uncomfortable moments, but that’s what we expect from a Ryan Nicholson movie. As usual, there’s also a bit of dark humor that tries to lighten the otherwise bleak mood. The main players are well acted and convincing, but of course the strength of the film is the intense brutality (a word that I know I’ve used repeatedly, but for good reason) and the red stuff. If that’s what you’re looking for, and I’m pretty sure it is, Collar will not disappoint.