Monday, October 09, 2017

The Collector (2009)

WHAT IF Kevin McAllister grew up to be a psychopathic murderer? Ever thought about that?

Wearing its Se7en and Saw franchise inspiration on its sleeve, The Collector is a nasty little story of home invasion, traps and torture.

Ex-con handyman Arkin (Josh Stewart) is desperate to pay a debt, so he decides to break into a mansion he's been working on. Assuming the worst part of the night would be cracking the safe, he's shocked to discover himself trapped inside with the family and a mysterious masked man who's rigged the place with murderous devices.

I was just thinking the other day how I'd not seen anything I'd class as "torture porn" in a while. Not lamenting the fact, to be clear, just thinking how I tend to gravitate away from stuff like that these days. Well... The Collector probably falls into this category.

There's a lot of squirm-in-your-seat moments, from razor blades and fish hooks to bear traps and barbed wire, and while some may delight in the game of "let's see how nasty this death is", this path may be one too well-trodden for some.

Written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan and directed by Dunstan also, this was originally meant to be a prequel to Saw. Even though the idea was declined, the sample script they submitted was enough to get them the gig writing Saw parts 4, 5, & 6 after Leigh Whannell left the franchise. 

It makes complete sense that the messed up minds that imagine the Rube Goldberg torture devices from the Saw films also pieced this house of horrors together.

And as grim as most of the deaths are, the most unsettling aspect of The Collector has to be the man himself.

We all know there's not much scarier than a mask, and his is a nightmare dreamed up from a gimp mask and a melted trash bag. With just staring eyes and gaping mouth left for us to focus on, this look was definitely chosen for maximum creep factor.

Home invasion movies are some of the most spine-chilling in horror, and even if this one is too bombastic to truly make a normal person feel at risk (seriously, you have to be ready to suspend hefty disbelief at how much time and good fortune it took to set all those traps AND have them work as intended), it's still a good time watching from between your fingers as the victims stagger from one booby-trap to the next.

Apart from the dog and cat death, that is :(

There's a sequel, The Collection, released in 2012 that I'll be keeping an eye out for. If the Google image results are anything to go by, it really turns up the volume!

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