I had been wanting to see The Collector for a while, but, as with most things, I got around to it in my own slow, sweet time. It ended up being worth the wait. (It just plain sucks to be looking forward to what you’re sure will be a good horror movie only to watch it and find out it’s rotten, doesn’t it?)
This one, however, I watched as all horror movies really should be enjoyed: alone, late at night, with the threat of a storm brewing outside. Perfect formula for creepiness. (Just in case you need such atmosphere because the movie doesn’t provide enough of it.)
The first two minutes grabbed my attention. Then the movie suddenly jumped from this couple coming home to find a mysterious box in their bedroom –a box that was moving and moaning– something jumping out of it when they opened it and someone else coming at them from behind, to a scene of the outside of a house being remodeled.
I was confused because the transition was so harsh. But I waited patiently, sure the director wouldn’t leave the beginning unexplained.
The action nose-dived as the movie introduced the main characters, and then set up the foreshadowing of chaos you knew must surely ensue eventually.
Arkin, an ex-con, agrees to steal a honker of a diamond from the Chase family, whose house he’s working on. His baby-mama needs the money he’ll score from the job to pay people she owes money to. If she can’t cough up the dough, she’ll skip town with something he can’t bear to lose: his daughter.
Conveniently, the Chases are leaving for vacation that very night. It’s Arkin’s prime chance to steal the diamond. But when he gets to the house, all hell breaks loose. He’s not the only one targeting the Chases. But “The Collector” isn’t after the same family jewels as Arkin. He wants their blood, guts, suffering and pain, and he’s booby trapped the entire house to ilk every bit of that out of them. (If you like gore, this movie delivers plenty of it.)
Some of the Collector’s torture contraptions were just wicked. More than once I found myself wondering, “Could that really happen? I’d like to see MythBusters recreate that.”
And what about that harsh transition? Was it ever explained what happened to the couple in the very beginning? Yes. They popped back up again and all made sense. (Not all of it was completely logical, but all aspects were at least accounted for.)
The Collector reminded me of a combo of Saw (as far as the sadistic devices were concerned) mixed with the intense suspense of The Strangers and Them. Then the ending had to go and add a slasher element. The hero tried to kill him, but The Collector rose back up again.
All in all it was a surprisingly decent horror movie.