Movies The Collector (Review & Spoilers)


Film Elitist

I can sum this movie up in one sentence: Same formula as SAW, different ingredients.

Seriously, I should've suspected this when I noticed that the director also wrote SAW's IV and V. However it's not exactly farfetched for this phenomena to occur with horror films... but the resemblance is uncanny and I know exactly where they're taking it.

The opening is brief and to the point... Rich businessman and his wife get captured (at least the businessman does) by the Collector himself. Then it jives into a rave-style credit sequence which flashes obscured and distorted images of insects and jars. The images are painted with a yellow and green tint affecting the mood. I never cared for flashy edited credit sequences. It's like they compressed what could have been character-developing or motivating scenes and reduced them into music video eye candy.

I'm going to briefly skip ahead focusing on this one character for a moment. So this businessman is "collected" and put into this large boxed suitcase. He comes back later when the Collector visits another house that the protagonist, Arkin, is trying to rob simultaneously. We don't know what connection this businessman has with the people of this house and we never find out. He has a brief line when Arkin asks why he's there and the businessman replies "I'm the bait"... The bait? The bait for what? With the amount of deathtraps now set up in the house does he really need bait? He already managed to capture the adults and hold them in the basement. Why the hell does he still need bait?

Redundantly concluding this business with the businessman, Arkin releases him out of the box and he babbles very little about our mysterious Collector before being shoved back in. He collects people, if he doesn't want you, you die. Simple enough, but then who the hell is this businessman and why did the Collector collect him to begin with? Just for bait? Then who was the businessman's bait? Sorry, probably too many questions too quickly but in observation of the Collector himself I've become curious.

Essentially the businessman is just another lamb to satisfy the horror film slaughter quota so blatantly so that they can't even give him the simplest meaningful purpose except to die. Since this is a horror film that takes pride in how serious it is (coming from a few of the makers of SAW) I would expect a little more in... eh well on the other hand after SAW II it doesn't really matter so nevermind there.

Nearly every member of the family falls victim to one or more of the Collector's traps in the house. That timeless feeling in horror films where you can already predict the body count before anyone actually dies in the movie. So this character and this film is called THE COLLECTOR but I haven't seen him actually collect anyone. He took the businessman to use as bait and killed everyone else in the house but he never actually kept anyone alive long enough to take them. Even at the end you see Arkin being put into that same box that the Collector uses as his victim's "bait". Then what to do they mean by Collector? By what grounds is he collecting people? What seems to be his fetish for killing and torturing people seems to get in the way of his collecting. Does he just collect one person simply to use as bait for the next victim's house only to die there? Quite preemptive if you ask me.

Very well so the name and implication of the title is meaningless and confusing. See this is the type of thing that can ruin a horror movie. If you give your monster an MO it becomes very confusing when HE DOESN'T EVEN FOLLOW IT. He's the Collector who doesn't collect; Anomolie sociopath or lethargic cretin?

I must say however, there is a bit of step up from SAW in some of it's cinematographic choices. It's over head shots create this ambient anticipation as if watching two mice in a maze. The camera doesn't not reveal where the Collector is unless Arkin knows or suspects where he is. So a majority of the time he remains hidden and he is seen as Arkin sees him or doesn't see him for that matter. It keeps him inconspicuous and keeps us guessing where exactly he'll turn up or what he'll do next. An improvement from most horror films and an effective tactic I see being used less and less.

That being said, lots are still left to be desired. This is where some of the wonderful crossovers between this and SAW come in play. I find myself curious for clarification on the Collector because he is different from monsters such as Michael Myers and Jason. The Collector is very methodical in his niche; stealthy, tactical, trained in combat and torture and warranting a great degree of intelligence. He does what he does for a reason and like SAW it is withheld for the coming sequels that will most definitley arise from marketing ploy. Since there isn't much of a connection made between many of the characters and their scenarios but still begs some exploitation I should expect the sequels should satisfy that curiosity rather painfully.

Unfortuantely this movie does (or did) have a little potential to become a solid horror film. In a way it already is, but it could have gone further. It doesn't rely on gore alone to cringe the audience. It utilizes a few adrenaline trickling suspense tactics fairly well but with the sequel ploy implanted it degrades the movie. It will become dragged out and stretched thorugh sequel upon sequel. The very nature of it's structure is so identical to SAW that you already know how they want to play it out.

I won't get into it but there are other small details that put a question mark over my head. Putting those aside, my main course of disdain for this movie is already spoken.
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Registered Member
I walked out of the theatre saying "what the beep beep beep" but for some reason it started to grow on me. I'm gonna say mostly because of the soundtrack.