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The Collection Has Begun…

the collector poster

The motion picture industry has not fared very well so far in this grand year of 2009. Most of the major distributors have not succeeded with their summer line up and have pretty barren slates leading into the winter. Surprisingly, the horror genre is no where to be seen during this prime-time for feature films. Granted Orphan was released to a somewhat successful first week with its gimmick twist ending which has made its rounds around the web as a great punch-line to most forum posters. In general it seems that Hollywood has completely lost its touch with what scares movie-goers. The modern day horror film is really stagnant because of creative laziness. Either the audience is terrified by a ghoulish design which is then sullied by a ridiculous and often times invisible plot or the picture just slopes into sharp cut-aways and dizzying shaky cam. The Collector is not a horror film which reinvents the genre nor is truly horrific. Instead it is a well done low budget slasher flick that succeeds in its job to make the audience as tense and squeamish as possible.

The plot of this film is intriguing yet simple. Arkin (Josh Stewart), a handyman by day and safe cracking thief by night, decides to rob his employer’s house in order to clear his wife/girlfriend’s debt with some nasty loan sharks. Once Arkin breaks into the house he finds that a devious and extraordinarily sadistic serial killer has rigged the house with deadly traps. In simpler terms, the killer (The Collector?) is a life time champion of Mouse Trap, only he brings it to a whole new level of sadism. Shocked by the brutality committed in this house of pain, Arkin becomes conflicted. Does the thief finish his job and save his family or does he try to be the hero and rescue his employer and his family as they are deformed by this masked killer?

YAY :

  • The Collector is a tense film which executes the cat and mouse relationship of Arkin and the Collector beautifully. Director Marcus Dunstan keeps the audience informed of the layout of the house early in the movie and utilizes color and strange camera angles so that the audience always knows where the killer is in relationship to the main character (i.e the basement is always a flurescent green and dirty yellow while the main floor is light blue and the third floor is a darker blue with almost streaks of white). This was so effective on screen that while Arkin makes note of all the trip wires in the house, the audience also remembers where they are as well.
  • As slasher films are almost always filled with gruesome deaths, this film if full of it. The deaths range from electrocution, disembowlment, dog maulings, impalement, and the best of them all: full bodied destruction by a floor of bear traps. No cheap cut-aways here, the camera is always pointed directly at the gore-filled gruesomeness of each and every kill. If you are a slasher film fan, this is the one you want to see.
  • The mask which the collector wears is not something fantastic. Instead of focusing on the inhuman qualities of a mask to weird people out, the Collector is more creepy because of his controtions of his mouth and and his animalistic “night-eyes”. He approaches his prey almost as if he wants to feast on his prey (much like a spider which is a constant reference in the film) with his mouth open and watery while his eyes (hopefully enhanced with contacts, to say he has cat eyes in a sequel would ruin the series) glow like a night time predator.
  • Did I mention that the traps are pretty bad ass

NAY:

  • Like most horror films it stays contained in a toned downed realm of stupidity. The killer outwits the police, people do not listen to the one man who has evaded the killer for 50 minutes and the young hot women will always get topless and have sex with an uber hairy twilight wannabe cast member.
  • Very short film overall, only 85 minutes and of those minutes there is a 25 minute hide and seek game played by the killer and the main character with no dialogue.
  • The ending screams sequel leaving the audience a little restless that there is no closure to the film and based on how well it does in the theater will dictate whether we see The Collector in the theater again or straight to DVD.

Either way Horror does seem to have a new potential icon, it is up to the horror community to get passed the fact that this is the work of the SAW writers currently guiding the franchise. The Collector is undeniably a good low budget horror film which deserves a matinee ticket with some buddies. Most likely saw fans and “torture-porn” addicts will be this series’ bread and butter which is sort of unfair.

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