Monday, 22 February 2010

No.12 : The Collector

If someone asked you to draw up a list of slasher movie clichés’ you could save yourself a lot of time by just handing them the script for ‘The Collector’. It really does sweep the board from unkillable bad guys to lusty teens getting theirs to the lone cop showing up to save the day, but wait! You could argue it’s a winning and successful format but more correctly you could just say it’s lazy torture porn trash and you’d be right too!

Our hero is Arkin who is pretty unsympathetic from the off and gets less likable from there. He does odd jobs for cash and pays the mother of his daughter the cash she needs to keep the loan sharks off her back. It’s never enough however and things could get nasty if she doesn’t have the cash by midnight - I don’t know why maybe they’re vampire loan sharks - it isn’t really explained.

Anyway Arkin has seen a business card at his last job saying the home owner was owned a rich jeweller so he decides to break in and help himself to the contents of his safe. HUGE mistake! Arkin soon realises that he isn’t alone in the house and a trussed up man in a box from the pre-credit sequences says it’s The Collector, a strange villain who collects people and kills the ones he doesn’t like - a bit like a trading cards fan who only keeps the chase cards. Again it doesn’t explain why or how he ‘collects’ people and I guess it was just thrown in to justify the title.

Arkin soon finds that the house is done out like a set from ‘SAW’ and that’s where the similarities continue. Every room has an elaborate trap from being filled with razor wire, to bear traps, to having a knife chandelier - this collector dude fair plans ahead. He finds the man of the house tied up and the wife in the bath but not in a good way. He looks to escape but finds the 10 year old daughter is in danger too and having bonded earlier in the film with her at her Mermaid’s tea party he defies all his character development thus far and goes back to tangle once again with the man in the mask.

As you’d expect other people appear despite it being in the middle of the night but who’d say no to Madeline Zima off ‘Californication’ who shows up briefly to take her top off and get killed? We also get the solo policeman who may as well have worn a red shirt off Star Trek for all the good he was every going to do.

As you’d guess our hero starts to fight back by turning the traps on the bad guy but as ever he never quite finishes him off and - look out he’s getting up again!

This isn’t a terrible film, but it is a squalid and nasty one that seems to delight in gouging out bits of flesh with fish hooks and pruning tongues with clippers. I know the ‘Saw’ and ‘Hostel’ films do good business but what kind of people see these films and enjoy them? I’m not for censorship but I think if you buy this sort of DVD a light should go red on the local police computer!

It really has nothing new to say or offer and the traps that have been set up, although imaginative, are patently ridiculous. ‘Honey why is the pest control man bringing 20 bear traps into the house?’ ‘Shut up he charges $50 a hour!’. The bad guy was OK and I liked that his eyes were opaque like a rat’s. His motivations were never explained apart from the ridiculous ‘collecting’ angle spouted off by a man in a box - and he’d know!

The production values were decent enough with a few gory kills such as the man falling backwards into the bear trap room which was a real ‘ouch’ moment. The cast were OK although the lead didn’t really have what it took to carry our sympathies or indeed the film - he was a kind of a weedier Sean Penn so it was somewhat surprising to see him duke it out with the beastly Collector.

I wouldn’t recommend ‘The Collector’ but it did have its moments - it’s just a shame that you had to wade through so much nastiness and clichés to see the pair of them!

THE Tagline : Garbage Collector 55%

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