If the Collector Calls…it’s gonna be Bad News!

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.

Collector Movie Poster

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.

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3 comments

  1. petersaturday

    Usually anything related to the saw movies ends up pretty boring! “dead silence” could have been an awesome puppet slasher!!

  2. Felicia

    Couldn’t disagree more. This was a frightening and intense film. Who cares why the Collector collects? He does? I’ll bet none of Ted Bundy’s victims knew why he was murdering them. It’s a modern day convention of horror movies that we have to subscribe to humanize the villian and explain his behavior. The Collector kills because your at home. That’ all. Not because he was molested or because you have red hair. Just because you’re at home and he can. That’s scary. There’s no negotiating with the guy. Who were the traps for? Can’t say for sure. Maybe he was going to let one of his victims escape like a rat through a maze and enjoy them tripping up the traps. If you were really watching the movie, you’ll remember when the dad managed to run from the Collector and attacked the thief with a golf club. It’s pretty obvious that the traps help to capture the dad because the Collector drags his broken body away to the basement, so the movie shows us one possible reason why the traps exist. For those of you who like tense, bloody horror in the vein of High Tension, definitely go see The Collector.

    • konales

      That’s awesome, thanks for coming out to Universal Dork and sharing your comments! This was just my take on the film, and I appreciate a counter point.

      I wasn’t looking for why the Collector collects, or some convoluted background story…but more for something a bit different from Dunstan. I agree, at the core of the movie, it is good horror. But at the surface, it was just not believable. I think that Dunstan could have planned out parts in the movie that would have not required the most precise and unfortunate timing of the victims. And I did watch the movie, I remember the dad attacking Arkin…in fact he already looked like he had been put through 20 traps! But how did the house get boarded up with the family there? The collector must have captured them, then set them free to run into the traps? I like that thought, but that is what Jigsaw does. How did he do this in the span of a couple hours? What was the mystery melty stuff on the floor in the bedroom (I am a chemist and I have never seen adhesive acid with that much tact…) although, the cat scene (albeit cheesy) was straight up entertaining! In addition, the bait, the trunk with the collected person from his last venture, great addition to the mystery killer…a bit unbelievable, but nonetheless, a nice touch. And bear traps…can never miss with this viewer with bear traps…and nails through eyes!

      The movie just really changed tones after the first 45 minutes and became a Saw movie, that is what disappointed me…it started off awesome.

      So thanks again for coming out and reading the post! I want to review other movies in this vein along the way so please come back and weigh in.

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