Wednesday, 20 October 2010

THE COLLECTOR DVD review

Out now on DVD is this horror from the writers of the new Saw, The Collector.
Watch the trailer and find out more, after the jump.

Finding himself in quick need of cash to pay off his debts, locksmith Arkin (Josh Stewart) decides to burglarise his most recent customers. Rather than the empty house he was expecting, Arkin is surprised to find that the house has been turned into a booby trapped funhouse by The Collector (Juan Fernandez), a madman who has took the family hostage. Quickly forgetting about his own potential crime, Arkin must locate the family's little girl and escape from the deathtraps before The Collector becomes aware of his presence.


This film comes from the writers of Saw's 4-7, and sticks fairly close to the same basic format of trap and kill. The problem with the Saw franchise (in particular the more recent installments) is that for all the gory goodness, the actual story has become unnecessarily contrived and convoluted. Here we have a chance to see what the writers are actually capable of, with this original horror that clearly wants to launch itself as a franchise. Well, after complaining the Saw films have become overly intricate, here they've gone in the opposite direction; there isn't really a story, more a collection of set pieces. For a cheapo horror, that isn't necessarily a bad thing.


This is the kind of film that I believe was threatened by the makers of the Saw franchise about 4 years ago, and to be honest, I wouldn't have minded the change. Perhaps they should have ditched the Jigsaw character and switched to a more anthology based series, kind of what was attempted way back when with Halloween 3: The Season Of The Witch. A new 'original' story with new characters could be presented every October under the Saw banner, with potentially the same audience returning each year to see what they've come up with to scare them this time. They're clearly after a new franchise though, and whilst The Collector being is quite a freaky being, he's lacking the charisma and memorability of Jigsaw. At least he's not outstayed his welcome...yet. The anthology idea could have been an interesting move that I suppose could still happen, now that we're finally rid of Jigsaw.


The Collector is a strange glassy eyed villain with some peculiar ways of making new friends. Imagine if Home Alone's Kevin McAllister grew up to be a fetish mask wearing sadist, and you've got the basic idea of this villain. There's some bumph about him wanting to trap and collect people (hence his ominous name), but that's little more than an excuse to have a bloodied man jump out of a box.


He has a penchant for making fairly rudimentary killing machines out of household objects, but has also brought his own bag of tricks (hooks, pins and nails included) to make an inescapable maze for anyone that dares enter. As to why he's set these traps when he's already captured the family... oh, shut up it doesn't matter, it's only a horror film. They're definitely more homemade than Jigsaw's contraptions, ranging from minor annoyances (putting a pin on a telephone receiver) to teeth gritting horrors (the bladed vice attached to the window).


I wouldn't say The Collector scared me so much, but it sure as hell made me want to put my hands in my pockets and never invest in real estate (these things never happen to flat owners). There's enough jumps to satiate fans of the Saw films, and the gore quotient is just the other side of tasteful. Despite the admirable attempt to launch a new villain, I don't think we'll be seeing The Collector again any time soon; however, if you're looking for a cheap, jumpy, gloomy horror to watch this Halloween, you could do a lot worse than The Collector.


Verdict

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