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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Review: The Collector


The Collector (2009)
Genre: Horror
Format: Blu-ray
Director: Marcus Dunstan

The Collector is another byproduct of the Saw movies where you see a bunch of characters trapped within a labyrinth filled with deadly traps and one wrong move could result in a certain death: a horrible one too at that. The movie has a lot of potentials with sheer brutality that goes beyond the franchise that inspired it but it is a bit too overambitious for its own good. Director Marcus Dunstan who co-wrote with Patrick Melton were also the ones who penned the last three entries of the Saw films (they are also the writers of the upcoming part VII) so it was really disappointing that this movie turned out to be rather mediocre.

A guy named Arkin wants to help out his ex-wife pay off her debt and since he's making only a small amount of money doing construction work at an isolated family home, he decided to take a more desperate attempt to collect some cash by planning to rob the same house he is currently working on. In the darkness of night, he sneaks into his employer's residence, only to find himself trapped alongside everyone else in the house by a brutal killer. As if that wasn't bad enough, the killer likes to set up nasty traps all over the house to make it harder for anyone to escape. Since the lives of an entire family are at stake here, the movie definitely feels very sinister. The killer wears a simple mask but his glassy eyes and psychotic smirk sent chills down my spine. There are a couple of good gore scenes but the real thrill of the film only happens before the killer realized that Arkin was in the house with him. It's very suspenseful to follow Arkin around the booby-trapped house as he tries to avoid being detected by the killer.

The fatal flaw of The Collector is that it is not a complete film. By the end of the movie, it is obvious that Dunstan has a lot more to show us. This wouldn't have been a problem if the film provides at least a small amount of closure but instead, we are given glimpses of the movie's grand puzzle still scattered in pieces. There are small hints given throughout the movie about the killer's modus operandi but it just doesn't make any sense. I don't think that a killer's motives require any real explanation to make a horror movie works - it's actually best to leave it like that - but since this movie is built up around the mystery of the killer's "collecting" hobby, the audience deserved to be given more than what the movie is willing to reveal at this point in the tale.

The whole idea of turning a family home - a symbol of safe haven - into a palace of pain is an intriguing one. The deconstruction of a family is a bleak subject and thus, the sequel to The Collector could be limitless in its horror. It's unfortunate that this movie came into existence a little too early before its ideas could mature into something more cohesive. I would recommend waiting to see if a sequel is truly coming for this movie because if not, watching The Collector becomes almost a complete waste of time.

RATING: 2 out of 5

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