2 July 2010

Pick-Up Needed- THE COLLECTOR Review

As something of a regular disclaimer, it's only my opinion here- others are available. As ever, mild spoilers may occur in the process of reviewing, but never so far as to spoil any major plot developments.

The Collector is the latest in a long line of cinema slashers, a genre that more frequently takes a slash all over our face and eyes than slashing victims with blades. In this one though, what must be the only ex-con professional locksmith in the world turns to crime. His estranged wife and daughter fall afoul of loan sharks and he needs to pay off the thousands the wife owes by midnight. Breaking into his latest client's house, he bumps into a gimp-masked sadist, the Collector of the title, who has turned the house into a fortress from the inside. With traps around every corner and the family of the house incapacitated, the only way out is to be chosen to join the killer's collection.

I caught this one earlier in the week and expected pretty much the same standard of horror film as its writers, Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, have been doing for the last four or five years in the Saw sequels. It's not far removed, but this ain't half bad. Part of that's down to Josh Stewart, whose acting makes our hero much easier to root for as he tries to connive his way out of the house and still collect his payday.

Despite the deliberately retro vibe, you can feel them striving to do something different in the time they take to establish characters, threatening to overbalance the whole film with a slow opening. The valid motivations of the sympathetic characters only make the omission of character for our antagonist more glaring. The Collector looks like a barbarous mix of Sharaz Jek and that kid who dressed as Batman and killed Christmas on YouTube, so they should flesh him out a little more. Why does he collect people? Why this house?

You'll find no answers here, just a procession of escalating circumstances and gory set-pieces- I hope this doesn't mean they're trying to establish this character for a franchise. I liked this one, but with yesterday's announcement of what they're calling the next Final Destination film, I tire of horror sequels altogether.

The Collector hails back to 80s slasher movies, a form of horror cinema that isn't exactly due a return given how it's never bloody gone away. There is a refreshing internal sense to the thing, and enough chills and thrills to occupy most audiences, but it owes too much to the style and content of Saw.

That shit-brown and mucus-green tinge is most unwelcome in the two scenes it's used in, and shows exactly how the film has the expectations of the genre embedded in its skin like the fish-hooks dangling from the Chase household. But it's trying, so by all means, give it a watch.

The Collector is showing in cinemas nationwide.
If you've seen The Collector, why not share your comments on the films and/or my reviews below? Newcomers may assume my sincerest apologies for turning them onto the inevitable loop of "The Dark Knight Kills Christmas" and its sequel they'll be stuck in hereafter.

I'm Mark the mad prophet, and until next time, don't watch anything I wouldn't watch.

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