The Collector is a movie that I have been meaning to watch for a while. I was really intrigued by the concept of the protagonist being a man breaking into a house, only to have to save the family from a sadistic killer. I was hopeful that it would lead to a bit more actual storytelling than we are used to in this genre.
What held me back from watching it, though, was the widespread opinion that it was simply a Saw rip-off. Well, I finally watched it last night. Read on to see what I thought and check out the Shocktober 2013 page of the blog for more Horror-related content.
The movie follows Arkin, a contractor working at the country house of a wealthy family. As he finishes up a late day, he interacts with several members of the family who, for the most part, take a liking to him. After work, we meet his young daughter and ex-wife. His ex-wife happens to be in a bad way with some loan sharks so he promises to get her money by midnight.
Arkin’s plan is to break into the wealthy family’s house to steal a jewel in order to pay off his ex-wife’s debt. The plan goes to hell when he realizes the house and family are under siege by a sadistic mad man. The man, dressed in black with a black mask, has intricately booby-trapped the house. Now it’s up to Arkin to save the family and stop “The Collector.”
The movie does have a very “Saw” feel to it. At the time of the movie’s release, Saw was preparing to release its sixth movie and the franchise was stale. Or so I’m told. In all honesty, I haven’t seen the Saw franchise past the third installment. But I feel that is with good reason because even by the third movie, the franchise was getting to be a bit much.
Bearing that in mind, The Collector felt somewhat fresh. It’s not exactly torture porn in the Saw sense of the subgenre. In a way, it’s more like a really sadistic sequel to Home Alone. And it works.
The traps aren’t as intricate or quite as disturbing as those in the Saw franchise. The real enjoyment comes from seeing the anti-hero Arkin struggle to protect the family he’s robbing. A lot of blood is spilled as the body count rises and the situation goes from bad to worse. Sometimes, though, that is the perfect cocktail for a fun, gruesome horror thriller.
The movie has some faults. Unlike Jigsaw in his franchise, The Collector is a silent villain. It makes his seem animalistic and creepy, but I can’t help but feel like he would have been better served as a more vocal entity. Another issue it that the movie’s ending also takes a turn toward the slightly clichéd. It isn’t that bad. But given the rest of the movie’s pleasant storytelling, it’s noticeable.
Overall, if you’re looking for an alternative to Saw (a “SAWternative”, if you will), you’ll be hard-pressed to find one as worthy of your time as The Collector is. The added element of an antihero protagonist really sets it apart in a subgenre that quickly became oversaturated by lackluster efforts.
Look for my review of the movie’s sequel, The Collection, later today.
Have you seen The Collector? Let me know what you thought in the comments below and don’t forget to check out the rest of ObsessiveViewer.com’s Shocktober 2013 content.