Review by Jack Foley
THE Collector is optimistically described as a high-concept home invasion movie with a twisted spin. Sadly, it’s also a painfully (and that’s literally) predictable, gut-wrenchingly awful Saw deviant that makes for particularly unpleasant viewing.
The film actually marks the directorial debut of Marcus Dunstan, who co-wrote the screenplay with his Saw IV, V and VI partner Patrick Melton, and it smacks of being another pointless riff on the “torture porn” genre first started by the original Saw movie.
Alas, any aspirations it has of engaging the intellect quickly evaporates amid the sheer pointlessness of proceedings, as well as the ludicrous nature of the premise.
Josh Stewart heads the cast as ex-con handyman Arkin who, desperate to pay off his estranged wife’s debts to a loan shark, decides to break into the home of his current clients while they are on holiday to steal a rare gem from the safe.
Once inside, however, he finds that the home has also been visited by a serial killer (or collector) who has rigged the house with razor-wire, bear traps, guillotined windows and numerous fish hooks so that he can play a twisted game with the unsuspecting occupants.
To add to his dismay, the home’s husband and wife have already been captured by the collector, but their two daughters (one a promiscuous teenager, the other a young girl), have yet to fall into the trap… prompting Arkin to launch a desperate bid to outwit the killer and save the day.
Admittedly, there is scope for some ingenuity within elements of the concept, which originally started out as merely a thief breaking into the home of a serial killer and facing a cat-and-mouse game of survival.
But Dunstan is more interested in graphic mutilation than anything else, sacrificing performance and credibility in his desire to see just how nasty things can get.
The result is a movie that positively revels in scenes of gut-wrenching torture – from disembowelment to a woman having her lips sewn together – while insulting the intelligence of anyone who has the stomach to try and work out whether the film actually makes any sense. It doesn’t.
On the one hand, for instance, we’re asked to believe that the collector of the title is, as the movie suggests, amassing human play things. Yet on the other, he seems desperately keen to kill them at the first opportunity.
We’re also asked to suspend disbelief enough to buy into the notion that the collector could rig the house as elaborately as he does within the space of hours, if not minutes.
Nothing about the screenplay seems to make sense, while the deliberate lack of an explanation and an obvious open ending also seem designed to kickstart another franchise.
In this instance, we can but hope the move backfires as The Collector is a highly dispiriting and completely unnecessary entry into a horror porn genre that’s already struggling to justify its grubby and deeply unpleasant existence.
Running time: 90mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: October 18, 2010