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From the writers of SAW IV, V and VI comes:
a.) a film about a lunatic who sets outrageous death traps
b.) a film that is drenched in green, black and amber colors
c.) a film with hip techo slickness thumping on the soundtrack
d.) all of the above
It’s d.), of course. The title character is a mysterious and masked pervert who, for no reason we’re made aware of, invades people’s homes, quickly sets up obscenely elaborate traps and skitters around the bloody carnage he creates. Unfortunately for Arkin (Josh Stewart)—a burglar with a heart of gold—an attempt to steal a gigantic ruby from a wealthy home late one night brings him face to face with the Collector, who has chosen to destroy the family on the same night and has already rigged the house for maximum pain. The result is a flick that feels like a worst-case scenario for HOME ALONE’s Kevin McAllister—if, having eventually snapped after fighting criminals throughout his childhood, he had begun sneaking into homes and setting up torture traps. I wonder if THE COLLECTOR would’ve been more disturbing if it was called HOME ALONE 5: KEVIN LIVES.
Ridiculous as this movie is (Arkin is an indestructible hero—a man who can tolerate losing several pints of blood after being beaten, sliced, stabbed, hit by a car, etc. and still only look like me after one too many bourbons), gore fans ought to be tickled with its lean, mean delivery. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another movie where a character takes a hot shot of cat blood right in the eye, but it got to me here—and that’s during one of the film’s tamer moments (the FX team annihilates pounds of flesh in this flick). There is also delicious suspense in certain portions, but anyone expecting more than a mash-‘em-up flick will be let down. It’s no surprise that this comes from a duo with SAW sequel experience—it looks and behaves very much like an entry in that franchise, which will no doubt titillate some and bore the pants off of others.
Writer/debuting director Marcus Dunstan and co-scripter Patrick Melton team up for a commentary track on the DVD and Blu-ray, and their jovial yet matter-of-fact attitude implies that this was sort of another day at the office for them. That’s understandable, but this attitude bleeds through in the film from time to time, and it’s distracting. These guys know the routine by now, and despite all the vicious shit on screen, it’s hard to not consider how easy (boring?) this material must be for a writing duo who have been churning out SAW screenplays for years.
The audio and visual quality of the discs is pretty terrific. As mentioned above, the lighting is gorgeous and comes across brilliantly in the widescreen transfers. The film looks so pretty, in a grotesque way, that sometimes it’s like having dinner with a model who only likes to discuss the tortures of the Christian martyrs. The extras also include two awkward deleted scenes and a joke alternate ending, a video for Nico Vega’s “Beast” and the whole damn soundtrack/score for those who just want to kick back and unwind on the couch with the film’s music.
Whether or not the Collector is a “new horror icon,” as some have pondered, is a valid consideration. If his fondness for incorporating insects into his sick attacks on people had been employed more often in the flick, we’d have a stronger character on our hands. As it is, he a brilliant nutcase who looks like the Gimp from PULP FICTION and behaves like a rabid SAW fan. I suppose the most effective aspect of the film is the most interesting aspect of the Collector: He may be as smart as Jigsaw, but doesn’t care if you learn a lesson if you survive. If your eardrum is punctured and you can’t hear what’s being preached to you, so be it. The Collector seems to prefer you eviscerated over enlightened.
DVD/ Blu-ray Reviews
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