Monday, August 3, 2009

The Collector (2009)


THE COLLECTOR is the latest film from the writing duo of Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, who are most known for their contributions to the awful SAW series (parts 4-6). They also wrote the FEAST trilogy which has a totally different attitude and vibe than old Jigsaw and his traps of morality. FEAST are monster movies, and are pure schlock fun. Marcus Dunstan also makes his directorial debut with THE COLLECTOR.

THE COLLECTOR begins as a couple returns home to find it dark and without power, when they enter their bedroom they find a large luggage trunk, which begins to shake. When they open it they are attacked from behind. Thus begins our journey.

Arkin (Josh Stewart) is handyman and thief (among other things I'm sure) who owes money to his ex-wife who in turn owes it to loan sharks. Arkin knows that there is a safe with jewels in the house he's working on and that it will be empty on the night he needs the money. When Arkin arrives that night he is attacked by a dog before he enters the house and when he enters he realizes he is not alone inside. Arkin and The Collector, who is never given a name, begin to play cat and mouse with each other, trying to outsmart the other into a bad situation or scaring them off to leave. The Collector has the house rigged with trip wires and booby traps leading to everything from a kitchen knife chandelier to a room filled with acid.

Arkin hears screams from the basement and goes to investigate. Its at this point that THE COLLECTOR takes a turn for the worse. All of the suspense and well orchestrated cat-and-mouse of the first 30 minutes of the film, are thrown out the window and it becomes nothing short of another SAW film. The Collector has trapped and tortured the mother and father of the family. We learn that the oldest daughter had left the house before they were ambushed, and the younger daughter is simply nowhere to be found.

Fast forward through some run-of-the-mill torture scenes, a lot of gore and Arkin running up and down the stairs at least 15 times and we get to Arkin finally escaping the house... until he sees the younger daughter still inside. So he does what anybody would do. Now its more of the last 30 minutes but with an 8-9 year old go tagging along. Eventually they outsmart The Collector using the old mirror reflection trick and using his booby traps against him. So they run toward the main road where a caravan of cop cars and ambulances are coming thanks to the older daughter dialing 911 before she got killed... so Arkin who manages to act like an idiot for 85 minutes of this movie and somehow still survive runs into the street and gets plowed over by a cop. Now Arkin is in the ambulance, with not only severe wounds from The Collector but his own stupidity and all of a sudden the ambulance flips over and over repeatedly and seems to go over a cliff... This is never explained and there was no reason this should have happened other than to give the film its amazing finish of The Collector being there collect another person in his endless supply of luggage trunks.

Dunstan's direction is solid for the first half hour, until they decide to lose all real suspense and semi smart film making and turn it into the gore fest of the summer. They did a good job with the gore as it looked good but the big time potential this film started out with was all crapped away with the veterans of the SAW camp seemed to want to make their own version.

I'm being easy on the film because the last hour or so was pretty terrible. I'm beginning to rant right now. There were so many holes in logic throughout the whole thing that it made my brain hurt. The movie could have been over the first time Arkin goes to the basement if he wouldn't have ran back up stairs and just hit The Collector over the head with a pipe or wrench or anything heavy that is most certainly in a basement in an old country house. The acid room trap made no sense as this particular sort of acid will eat away at the flesh of a cat and at Arkin's work boots but not at the wood floor or books Arkin throws down to walk on. There is a scene towards the end where Arkin and the young daughter set their own trap to electrocute The Collector using an aquarium and a TV, and when the electrocution happens it ends up with a person being dead but the fish are still swimming around in this electro-charged water. It doesn't make sense.

On top of holes in logic and just how things in the world work, there were some ridiculously stupid scenes. For one, the flaming/exploding dog scene... wow. And Arkin calling The Collector "a little faggot bitch" as he was secured to a wall by meat and fish hooks... you tell him Arkin! And why did The Collector's mask look just like David Cronenberg from NIGHTBREED? And why were his eyes glowing? And why was the basement of this otherwise normal house lit with a seedy yellowish green tint?


OK, the rant is over on the badness of the movie. But honestly, whoever is hailing this movie and calling THE COLLECTOR "the next icon of horror" needs a head check. If anything it shows that Marcus Dunstan can direct a decent scene or two and probably could make a decent movie if he didn't revert back to turning into the gore show.

Bottom line is it may be best if the writing duo sticks to schlocky horror and stays away from the serious side of things.


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