In the 80’s you had Chucky, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees. In the 90’s more of the same with Candyman and The Leprechaun thrown in for some variety. The fact is, horror fans – perhaps more than fans of any other genre – adore a good franchise. We will buy tickets, t-shirts, posters and all the merchandise we can get our hands on just to have the boogeyman we love most hanging out with us. Now, we have Jigsaw from the SAW series as a mainstay and the highest grossing horror franchise of all time. The fact is, we’re suckers for a great villain and that’s what The Collector’s here to offer audiences.
The story of The Collector is fairly straight forward and almost heart-warming at the start. We have a family that’s getting their house fixed up with some bars over the windows by a guy named Arkin. This handyman will end up being our hero even he himself is a convict and a thief. Due to events in his life he needs money and to get that money, he’s going to rob the people whom he just installed the window bars for. Later, when it comes back to rob the place since the family is going on vacation, he finds out that they are not, in fact, on vacation. They remain in the house and are being held captive by a masked villain called The Collector. Unfortunately, Arkin discovers that with all of the booby traps set up by this masked psychopath he, too, is now a captive.
As the plot unfolds we see a game of cat and mouse that shoes Arkin has pretty good morals for a thief. He refuses to leave the family to deal with the killer and instead, uses his jewel thieving talents for good. Turns out, The Collector is not just a raving lunatic but also obsessed with jury-rigged death traps and other implements that help him ambush people with pain. The family is enduring exceptionally high levels of brutality at the hands of The Collector and his ominous presence truly does make things unnerving and completely disturbing. The fact that he keeps at least one victim in a box also adds to the creepiness factor.
Now, the critics didn’t love this movie. They cried ‘torture porn’ the same way they did with SAW and Hostel, so that gives you a little background about what you can expect when it comes to painful gore: literal gobs of it. They also found the plot weak, the character’s background confusing, the effects overdone and more! This reviewer would like to point out that these are the same elements present in varying quantities in the greatest horror franchises in existence today: Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street and even Scream. The nature of fear flicks is always going to be murky because part of fear is not knowing exactly who or what you’re up against, both for the victim and the audience. You can live with it and really, who wants to know every last tiny detail – we came to be scared!
The Collector definitely amasses quite a treasure trove of truly creepy and downright scary elements. The villain himself definitely deserves another shot at making us scream, particularly considering that this is director Marcus Dunstan’s directorial debut.
So how about it, Mr. Dunstan, can we get a sequel?
With a title like The Collector you know we can’t watch just one.