Released last July in the states, that’s 2009, it’s taken nine months to find a DVD release over there and even longer for a cinematic release in the UK, walking into The Collector, you certainly won’t be inspired with confidence.
Falling down the Saw direction, the story picks up with ex-con Arkin (Stewart), desperate to get his wife the money she needs to pay off a hefty debt. After working by day as a labourer on a jeweller’s expansive home, when the family go on holiday, Arkin returns after hours to steal a rare jewel from their safe, only the house certainly isn’t empty like he had expected.
Coming across the father of the family badly beaten and crudely dragged downstairs by wires strapped to his legs, the real extent of the situation is soon revealed. With the whole house booby-trapped and a brutal masked character dealing torture to both parents in the basement, Arkin stumbles upon a strange box in the closet. A bloodied and starved man tumbles out, revealing that the killer not only wants to deal wanton violence to those who cross his path, but he collects people for his own purpose.
Not that making a run for it was easy but Arkin doesn’t yet try to make his escape. With the jeweller’s two daughters still unaccounted for the burglar becomes their only hope for escape, only tracking them down within the four walls before the Collector does, then making a getaway from the trap ridden house is going to be his hardest mission yet.
Though the film effectively creates tension and suspense, and the tone of the film gives it the gruesome edge it needed to push down the Saw vein (with producers shared from the never-ending horror series), the violence is portrayed in such a comic manner that it wholly undermines the overall effectiveness.
The plot is entirely ridden with clichés which is frustrating given that the producers broke away from Saw to make this, yet with a clean slate they’ve just put together the same thing all over again, and without the ‘let’s play a game’ element that gave Saw it’s only quirk.
With a group of friends, and in the right mood, The Collector does though have the potential to be a lot of fun. ‘Horror romp’ would be an apt description of the 90 minute story only with the original concept detailed as a burglar breaking into a serial killer’s home, it’s difficult not to think what might have been.
Strangely despite all of its flaws, I’d still like to see a sequel, certainly more than yet another Saw film, and production is already underway for The Collector 2. The script though needs a lot tighter, and it would be nice if UK shores didn’t have to wait almost a year after the Stateside release this time too.