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The Collector (2009)

  Tags: blood, gore, Marcus Dunstan, Patrick Melton, saw, the collector, torture, torture porn

Your rating: None Average: 7.9 (37 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 

The Collector Poster
Rating #: 
Marcus Dunstan
88 Minutes
Madeline Zima, Josh Stewart, Andrea Roth, Daniella Alonso, Juan Fernández, Robert Wisdom

To be perfectly honest, I haven’t been following anything on The Collector up until about a month ago when  I caught the trailer online. It looked decent enough but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it would just be another Saw film with a different title. Well turns out I was right, The Collector doesn’t really bring anything new to the table that the Saw series already hasn’t.  However I’ll be the first to admit that I did enjoy it a lot more than the two previous Saw films.

That is because instead of using gore and kills just to shock the audience The Collector actually attempts to use tension and suspense; two key elements most horror films nowadays seem to leave out completely.  That’s not say the film doesn’t have it’s fair share of brutal kills as well.

The story is about a handyman and ex-con named Arkin (Josh Stewart), who is planning to rob his employers house to save his ex-wife from a loan shark.  He arrives at the house thinking the family has gone away on vacation but instead finds them being tortured in the basement and himself stuck in the middle of a psycho’s death trap.  Like I said this movie has Saw written all over it. The only thing that’s different between Saw and The Collector is that the killer isn’t using peoples sins or vices against them as traps; so really it’s more like a mixture of Saw and Home Alone.

The opening of the film starts off very well and creates a good amount of tension that sets a standard on what to expect later on. We are then introduced to the characters, who for the most part just are minor roles compared to Arkin and The Collector (Juan Fernández). Arkin is a very relatable character thus making him very likable to the audience, it’s a great juxtaposition to The Collector who is just downright brutal and ruthless. I also liked how the movie plays out like a game of hide and go seek between the two. Arkin runs away and hides, The Collector comes in searching, Arkin escapes, The Collector runs after him and so on and so forth but after a while it gets to be tedious.

So now lets get into the traps; for the most part they are downright ludicrous. There is a scene where Arkin goes into a room to find the floors covered with some sort of sticky acid that can eat through just about anything…except the wood of the floor its covered on.  There is really only a couple traps that seem like they can be remotely plausible, so even for suspending your disbelief these traps are just downright laughable.

Also since the beginning sets up a perfectly good tense atmosphere I was expecting that vibe to carry throughout the whole film. This isn’t the case most of the time because of the score. Don’t get me wrong it’s a well done score but I think filmmakers need to realize that silence is golden. Sure music is a very powerful tool but sometimes it can hurt an atmosphere and that was the case with this film. I thought that a lot of the scenes could have been more suspenseful if some of the musical numbers were just completely removed.

The directing and cinematography are two things I have to give a thumbs up on. The Collector is that perfect blend of darkness but not dark enough that you can’t see anything going on.  It also has this really gritty feel to it that I can’t help but enjoy as well. Oh and I can’t forget the kills either; while the traps are completely unbelievable the carnage they cause is just plain awesome. Even the killer dispatches people in some pretty brutal ways that will make any gore hound smile with delight. So in the end it wasn’t a bad flick to watch on a Friday night.

The Collector was a bit of a mixed bag for me; I didn’t hate it by any means but I didn’t fully enjoy the experience. However for a movie to attempt to scare the audience again and to partially succeed, gets points in my book. So if you check your brain at the door and go along with the bloody ride you will find The Collector to be a decent little film.

Posted on August 3, 2009 - 3:30pm | Slayer