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THE COLLECTOR
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Reviewed by: Ammon Gilbert

Directed by: Marcus Dunstan

Starring:
Josh Stewart
Michael Reilly Burke
Andrea Roth.

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A jewel thief breaks into the house of a rich family as they're being tortured by a masked madmen known as The Collector, who has filled the house with deadly traps and twisted games. Does the thief leave with the jewels and get out, or stick around to save the family from certain death?
Is it good movie?
THE COLLECTOR was part SAW, part HOME ALONE, part THE STRANGERS, and part HALLOWEEN, and yet still managed to be its own thing and rock me just as hard (especially HOME ALONE). While I can't say it was completely original, it sure as hell felt that way through most the picture, mostly because it takes those been-there done-that elements and throws it in a slightly different set up, delivering a good time to be a horror fan all around.

Besides Arkin, the lead played by Josh Stewart, the real stars of the movie are the traps set up by the Collector. The traps are sprinkled throughout the house in imaginative and savagely demented ways, making each one more fun to watch than the one before it. Less like SAW traps and more like HOME ALONE traps, the Collector orchestrates each room in the house as a deadly weapon, one that could be set off by just about anything. The moving of a wrong object, the tripping on a piece of wire, the falling into a bear tap or getting stuck to acid-like super glue on the floor.. this puppy has it all. The Collector is one sick, and extremely talented, sonuvabitch.

Without replicating a Jigsaw or a Jason Voorhees type killer, the film excels in its portrayal of The Collector himself, a scary dude with creepy eyes and an even creepier mask. He's malicious and the definition of pure evil, and what's worse--he seems to be driven purely by rage and a simple love for murdering and torturing others. Killers without real motivation are the scariest of all, putting The Collector up there with other favorite slasher killers of the genre.

But where the film thrives in its scary villain and ingenious traps, it also fails. While I wasn't bothered during my initial viewing, the glaring absence of motivation was huge upon reflecting on the film. As the end credits roll, there's still no logical rhyme nor reason as to why the Collector did what he did, or why he chose that particular house or those particular people, and you're never told who this guy is why he's so nutso. He just is, and he kills just because. It might work for some, but for me that lack of reason just felt like sloppy screenwriting and an easy way out.

Logic kept smacking me in the face regarding the complexity of the traps set up in each room and the extremely limited time frame the Collector had to set them all up. He essentially sets up the whole house of complicated traps in a matter of hours, but it likely would have taken days, if not weeks, to execute.

While I had my complaints, they're pretty small in comparison to how entertained I was throughout THE COLLECTOR. I've been over the torture porn genre for awhile, but its twist and how they approached the torture was a nice surprise and different, even if it really wasn't all that different. Plenty of traps, disgusting death sequences and a shit-tone of blood-splattered gore equaled one fun time to be a horror fan. A big kudos goes to director Marcus Dustan--now there's a guy to keep an eye on in the years to come.

Video / Audio
Video: Presented in widescreen, the colors are crisp and clear, and the dark lighting sets the tone right. In other words, a great transfer.

Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 gives a bone-crunching reality to the nasty events as they unfold on screen.

The Extras
Deleted Scenes / Alternative Ending: The disc features 2 deleted scenes of dialog that were both clearly in need of cutting, but gives a little more background as to where Arkin is coming from. The Alternate Ending is extremely abrupt and (dare I say) boring. All worth a watch, but nothing that should have been left in the final product.

Commentary by Marcus Dunstan: Interested in every aspect of the making of this film? Then the commentary by director Marcus Dunstan is for you!

The Collector Music: Every track of music is featured here in "preview" form, allowing for an iTunes-style clip of each song on the film's soundtrack. The music is actually pretty good in a hard rock / metal kind of way, and what better way to see if you really want to buy the soundtrack than a taste of each track? Never seen it as a special feature before, but I can dig it!

Nico Vega's "Beast" Music Video: To go along with the soundtrack, the metal (almost hairband-like) music video for the rockin' song 'Beast' is your standard music video featuring little footage of the band and lots of footage of the film. Only problem? It's presented in 2.0 audio.

Theatrical Trailer: The theatrical trailer is available for your viewing pleasure. Nice to see some DVDs still come with this.

Last Call
THE COLLECTOR was an enjoyable horror flick that provided plenty of nasty gore and blood effects, while also dripping with suspense and tension. A mix between a slasher flick, a home invasion flick, and torture porn, you may think (at times) that you've seen this movie before, and you may even scratch your head at the end wondering what the point of it was. But you know what? You’ll still be thoroughly entertained from beginning to end. A solid rental for sure, with a splash of extra features that may even warrant a straight-up purchase.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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