With all the rave there has been for this film from Horror fans, I had to cave in and watch the the film whose claim to fame was that it was written from some of the guys that wrote some of the "Saw" sequels. Perhaps its not the best claim to fame, but its a claim nonetheless. Surprise, surprise, "The Collector" reeks of "Saw" like tendencies throughout, but even in the end I was rather impressed with the decency of this film.
Arkin is just your average man working to make his life right. His wife (separated I'm assuming) is in a heap of debt to some nasty loan sharks and despite his good heart and hard work ethic, he still falls into the pool of scum when he decides that he is going to rob the house of a rich family that he is doing construction on. Unfortunately, the night he picks to strike at the house, the family is supposed to be on vacation while its being worked on, is also the night that a fucking psycho has decided to torture and 'collect' the family that lives there. So now its up to Arkin to use his good heart, cat burglar talents, and wits to out match The Collector and the booby trapped house.
Of course, I was digging the entire back story. Our hero, Arkin, is a lovable and pitiful man whom we can connect with. Josh Stewart definitely makes nice for the role and even the occasional supporting cast is good (honestly, there's not a whole lot of them). But the back story was pretty solid and set us up for some good tension later.
When we first get to meeting The Collector, I was a little disappointed in the cliche of how they went about him. The booby trapped house was a little much. Although it does create some intriguing and memorable death scenes, some of the traps were down right ridiculous. The bear traps laid everywhere in the kitchen for example. Not the most ingenious trap and it just smacks of cartoony quality. Like "Home Alone" meets "Hostel". Some of the traps made sense but the time to set them up (realistically speaking) was probably not worth the effort. The Collector himself was an interesting take in his mysteriousness (and his glowing eyes) although at times his demeanor was just a little off. Like why did he watch the girlfriend and boyfriend moment...was he just perverted or did he want to strike fear into their young lustful hearts? Either way it was just odd.
The plot itself was pretty simple and in its simplicity it was able to focus on some solid atmosphere and tension which was the best aspect of "The Collector". For a first time director, Marcus Dunstan does fairly admirable and I enjoyed some of what he had to offer. The fairly cliche credits were not a great starting point, but what he did later with music and some of the editing was a nice touch (although the ridiculous jump scares with mirrors made me want to punch him for unoriginality).
"The Collector" didn't quite live to the hype that the forums and Horror blogs had to give it, but it was a fine watch. Don't believe I'll be re-watching it any time soon, but it was a perfect way to pass the rainy morning. Not the most original film, but it had some solid acting and tension to make up for its lack of new ground.
Written By Matt Reifschneider