Sunday, July 11, 2010

For Those Bored With Stamps, Baseball Cards & Vintage Barbies

When considering the color of your parachute, I imagine there’s a fine shade between exterminator, MacGuyver, and sadistic murderer. Which profession pays the best probably depends on location and the general state of the economy.
And that brings us to 2009’s The Collector, a slick and soulless torture treat that should in no way be confused with the 1965 Terrence Stamp/Samantha Eggar classic of the same name.

Which you should really just go and watch right now. My feelings won't be hurt. Heck, leave a comment about what an underrated gem that film is and I'll buy you a hot dog!*

*Please note 'hot dogs' in Internet speak are defined as good intentions sent via mind waves.
Quick Plot:
A mumbling locksmith named Arkin installs new security bars on a country mansion, bringing home his pay to a bitchy wife who inconvenieintly enough, happens to be inexplicably in debt to loan sharks. To save her and his young daughter, Arkin agrees to break into the wealthy home and steal a ginormous dark crystal for The Wire’s Bunny Colvin.

Naturally, the plan goes awry when Arkin discovers every room has been booby trapped, each family member kidnapped, and all exits boarded up in record time.
The Collector is an efficient man not without a sense of humor. While he starts his trap design with subtle and effective invisible wires, each room gets progressively more ridiculous, slowly increasing to knife-dangling chandeliers and a den entirely carpeted by open bear traps. Give director Mark Dunstan some credit for following Chekhov’s rule of showing a gun in Act I; by Act III, all of the insanely overworked traps are tested and proven.

But is the movie any good? From a technical view, sure. The gore is gruesome. The action welll-staged. It’s as fine a film as Saw III with about the same amount of black spark, meaning The Collector is slick, cold, and about as empty in substance as an airy bag of Lay’s potato chips.

High Points
I kid about the mumbling of lead Josh Stewart, but at least the main character of Arkin is likable enough to draw our sympathy (my general main issue with the Saw franchise)

Low Points
It’s hard to really pinpoint what’s wrong with The Collector. The plot is singular but well-told. Performances are adequate. Ultimately all the elements are sleekly unified, but there’s njust nothing in or about The Collector to leave a single lasting memory
Lessons Learned
If you’re so concerned about securing your masion, perhaps you should be a tad more discrete about the fact that you’re immediately planning an extended vacation

Front-opening bras are useful for kitchen makeout sessions and quickie button-ups, but rather weak when it comes to actual chest support

Wealthy family men often collect gigantic jewels worthy of demonic chants or Jim Henson films

Little girls dig basket bears
For a modern theatrical horror release, The Collector is a surprisingly small little entry. A tthe same time, I can’t in any way say I personally enjoyed it or will plan on seeing the film ever again. For my personal taste, it was a tad too empty to register as anything mildly special. The DVD includes a commentary and (I think) featurette or two, so at least it’s packaged with care. If the premise interests you and Saw-style filming is your cup of grog, grab it. If the ugly execution of 21st century torture porn makes you feel old, skip it and eat a taco. Or better yet, do yourself some good and pick up a book. Might I recommend... 

Trust me. Have I ever done you wrong?


  1. I actually quite enjoyed this one, possibly due to the fact that "The Collector" reminded me of a deranged grown-up Kevin McCallister with all the ridiculous traps, and I may possibly have an unhealthy obsession with Home Alone...

    There was a scene in this that REALLY bothered me though, and that was the cat death. It's making me tear up just thinking about it.... I think I'll go hug my cats now!

  2. lol, HoMURDER Alone.

    I thought it was meh. I'm not a fan of torture porn though.

    That said, anything that gives work to actors from The Wire is a mitzvah.

  3. I can't believe I missed the total Home Alone continuation! Brilliant Emily C! Side note: you must see The Good Son. It's on Instant Watch and it's amazing. I'll put my review up for it later this week. And ugh I forgot about the cat AND dog death.It just added such an overwhelming mean spirit to the film.

    Matango: I totally agree about actors from The Wire. I'll pretty much rent anything if anybody in that show is in any way involved (witness Punisher: War Zone--side note, it's awesome--and Obsessed). I may even try the new Fame because Barksdale's sister--who to me had the best scene on that show ever with McNulty's confrontation--has some small role in it. I'm easily swayed.

  4. You could have NASA try to work on these traps and no way this all could be done in the time allotted....

  5. I hated this film with the fury of a 1,000 suns for its sole purpose was to set itself up as a franchise a la Saw. Calculated and assuming bullshit. And there were more questions than answers by film's end. I have no desire to ever revisit this or watch any sequels. Curiousity be damned.

  6. True Jaded, Kevin McCallister 2.0 is a machine!

    And PoT, I totally understand. I can't completely hate it because the production values are at least strong, but the spirit is so darn mean and there's just nothing that interesting going on. I think there is a sequel in development, but I don't see this reaching anywhere near Saw heights.

  7. Thought it was fairly mediocre, and impossible to get over the giant logic leap that the Collector set up 1000 traps in roughly 6 hours

  8. Maybe he had helper dust bunnies and moths, a la Cinderella or Enchanted?