So, The Collector…saw it this weekend and here are my thoughts…
When approaching the theater, I had to remind myself that The Collector was written and directed by Marcus Dunstan. Dunstan has written Saw IV, V, and the upcoming VI (personally, the world could have done without II-V). In the case of The Collector, I really did not want to see new Jigsaw killer, torture scenes, horrendous blood via wild and impractical contraptions, etc., but rather something that would show Dunstan can do different styles of horror. After all, this was his first attempt at directing, perhaps a desire to differentiate himself. Dunstan also has other “interesting” credentials…for instance he was the writer of the Feast movies (again a trilogy that was just fine being one movie, and was a great movie I might add). So, I erased my expectations and ventured forth into the dark confines of my new home for the 85 minute run time.
Getting started, the movie had an old school appeal, very 70’s horror but with some modern camera work, fades, and music. There was a decent amount of story and character building, which is a change of pace from the typical mainstream horror now. Unfortunately, when the stage was set and The Collector (yet another masked freak with unknown motivations for killing and collecting his victims) was unleashed on the populace…well, unleashed on myself and the two other people in the theater (for a Friday night movie…this is bad for the bottom line).
The Collector sets up a story about Arkin, who is a handy man helping to restore an old home in the country. While working on the home, Arkin is actually a burglar that is casing the home. In this case, the home is owed by some wealthy peeps, of which the husband is a jeweler and gives reason for a good robbing! Quick intros of the characters demonstrate their shallow existence and therefore a reason to be scrubbed from the Earth at some point in the film. Arkin is driven to rob not by his own greed, but by trying to help his (girlfriend/x-wife??) repay a loan shark. So the plan for the robbery is advanced a bit in order to meet the deadline. And as it turns out, this change of plans is an unfortunate decision made on behalf of Arkin.
Arkin intends to rob what he thinks is an empty home since the owners where to leave on vacation that day…oh if that were only the truth. Arkin begins the safe cracking only to hear wails of victims, mysterious footsteps, and finds weird Rube Goldberg contraptions of death placed around the house (sound familiar??). From this point on the movie really takes a dive down the predictable and unbelievable porthole. Arkin sneaks through the house avoiding traps and of course, the Collector! All the while, being a loving father, he is in search of the home owner’s daughter who is hiding somewhere in the house avoiding collection (did you check under the beds???). Getting his ass kicking by the house and losing his shoes (what up Bruce Willis…Die Hard?), Arkin becomes bent on the age old quest for self preservation.
In the course of the film, people appear in the house and people die…no shocker there. And they just don’t die, they have to die in the most brutal and intricate ways known to man; showing every gruesome detail with the camera zoomed in on the point of bloodletting. Somehow the Collector, within the span of a couple hours, is able to not only kidnap an entire family, but board up the house and wire it up with straight up Vietcong/Tom and Jerry traps. I add Tom and Jerry traps since most would require precise timing and the highest degree of unluckiness of the victims to work. Most of the traps look like something I would build in my garage on a boring Sunday afternoon (i.e., 2×4’s, screw eyes, duct tape…perhaps some dried seaweed and snot to hold things together).
This Universal Dork rates The Collector a 4 out of 10
Pleasing to the Dork!
• The camera angles, it gave a very Maze Craze feel to the movie.
• Gore is always fun and the contraptions where fun to watch.
• There is a lot of silliness, so I got a good couple chuckles as well.
Shat Upon by the Dork!
• Very predictable, this is becoming an outline/recipe for horror (kind of like Gilligan’s Island episodes, “Hey we found a way off the island…oh wait 18 minutes into the episode, Gilligan F’ed it up!”).
• Some of the soundtrack and score music choices really stole from the momentum of the scenes
• There was really no motivation for the killer other than he liked to collect people. Would this mean that comic books and baseball cards are the gateway to people collecting ??!??!?
• This was left open for like 46 more Collector films…sometimes I hate this planet. We could be spending money on good movie making…instead we will fund the next era of Saw Movies that will go direct to DVD.