"The Collector" DVD Review

6/20/2010 Posted by Admin

"The Collector"

DVD Review

By our guest blogger, Jeremy Wilkinson

It doesn’t look like the torture porn movement is ending anytime soon. Yet another attempt has been made with 2009’s “The Collector” (now out on DVD). The movie has many flaws, which are only made more glaring by the saturated market. However, it does have entertainment value and some moments that are tense.

Arkin (Josh Stewart) is an ex-con currently fixing the doors and windows of a house belonging to a well-to-do family. He has two motives for working at the house--make some legitimate money and case the home so he can steal from his employer while the family is out. You see, his wife owes a loan shark some money (tsk tsk) and she needs to repay him very soon. When Arkin breaks into the home, however, he discovers that traps have been laid down in every room of the building. Someone else also has targeted the home, but for a different reason. Now the man who came to steal may have to save the family from someone worse.

Based on the above synopsis alone, it is clear you have to allow the bounds of logic to be stretched. If not, the movie will only serve as a frustration. Why would anyone spend so much time to trap a house? If all he wanted to do is collect (as the movie title implies), then going though all that trouble seems like overkill. It gives you a good feel for the film right from the get go. If you’re not interested by now, you probably won’t ever see the movie.

On a technical level, “The Collector” has some odd choices in cinematography. For the most part, it is competent. Occasionally, it goes a bit above average. The overhead shots used early on (but abandoned later) were a very nice touch. But there are also shots that left me scratching my head. Spiders are included in the film in an attempt to link the creatures with the way The Collector works. As if to hammer in the spider motif, a shot is included where the camera zooms into the beady eyes of an obviously computer-generated spider. Hiccups like that mar the film. It’s heavy-handed and unnecessary. Honestly, it comes off as a waste of the budget.

If you like this sort of thing, don’t let the above criticisms deter you (though I doubt they would have anyway). Aside from the bits of bad judgment exhibited by the crew, “The Collector” turned out to be not half bad. Josh Stewart does fine as our stalwart hero, making you feel somewhat sympathetic for his plight even though he was going to the house to rob that family that gave him work. Damn recession. You also can’t help feel bad for the aforementioned family. Their suffering is mostly believable, but if you’re like me, you can’t help but snicker now and again at the sheer ridiculousness of it all. The Collector is mostly just there -- a faceless terror that takes second fiddle to the house itself.

On to the story…well, there isn’t one really. “Man enters house, bad things happen” is pretty much all you need to know. Considering the premise, I doubt you were expecting me to go on about how the whole movie is an excellent metaphor for the human conditions with realistic plot twists and witty dialogue. The thread-bare plot simply serves up the characters, shows you which ones to care about, and boom--you’re off.

What matters here are the scares. “The Collector” serves up plenty of tense moments. When there is build up, tension arrives before finally snapping into an explosive exchange between killer and victim, or trap and victim. Many parts have little to no build up and instead throw the traps in your face. The horror here is far more visceral than psychological. As for the traps themselves, they are as elaborate as some may hope. Bear traps, rigged phone and trip wires are some of what you’ll find in the movie.

Horror fans will find plenty to enjoy. As in the far superior movie “Cube,” you have to allow yourself to take the ride and not really question the set-up. It’s not as bad as some may think, but it won’t knock you out of the park. Enjoyable thrills are featured alongside over done ones. A lot of exposure to the torture porn genre will probably make this movie less enjoyable. For those new to the new wave of horror films, “The Collector” is a "fun" if uninspired movie.

Grade: C+

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  1. Hrushi said...

    Damn! I didn't know its horror.... ;)