An ex-con trying to pull one last heist is sucked into a booby trapped house and must face against a madman who is torturing the family within. The makers of 3 SAW films (and not the first three) have ventured into familiar territory of nonsense gore, whisper thin plot, and then even more nonsense gore.
The title of the film, and a couple lines of dialogue, suggest our madman is a collector of people…and perhaps animals (?). How does this fact play into the film’s action? It doesn’t really. If he is indeed a collector, then he certainly has no sense of “mint condition” as he spends his entire time damaging and removing pieces of the very things he plans to collect. In fact, if the title could change to “The Trapper,” then suddenly the film might make more sense for it is all about the elaborate traps he sets, and how they are designed to horribly maim, and even kill in a couple of cases. He doesn’t seem to be collecting anything. Yes, one of his previous victims is kept in a crate, but even that character explains that he’s just bait to lure in the types of people he wants. This “Collector” has gone to insane lengths setting up this family’s house with booby traps, and seems to want nothing more than to torture and kill, not collect.
The lack of sense and explanation makes the film reek of a desire for a sequel or series, just like the SAW franchise. We get little hints about who the collector is, and what his plans are, but none of it is relevant to what happens in the film we are presently watching. All of it seems to be fodder for future explanations. The audience is being teased with information so that we are clambering to see more of this Collector and his morose collection. I didn’t bite. Unless you are established as a series from the get-go, like The Lord of the Rings, then perhaps you can leave loose ends, but cripes!…even the first part of LOTR, and the first SAW for that matter, stand alone as good films.
The traps are just gore-porn. Lots of razors, hooks, blades and other things to make the audience’s skin crawl, nothing more. Nails being removed, fishhooks in eyes, and some sort of acid glue (I know…what the hell?) and no less than TWO pets being severed in half…just in case we weren’t made to feel uncomfortable enough.
The director has a decent eye for individual shots, and uses extreme lighting tactics to his advantage to get a nice aesthetic effect from time to time, but that is about all the praise I can muster for this film. The story is a total mess, there is not a drop of logic, the “boo” scare tactic is used during the calm exposition filled first act for no reason, and then the horror tactics turn into a unscary hour of tension surrounding icky closeups of traps being set off on people’s faces and fingers.
(And now for something a little different…time for an assault on some fellow critics…)
I have been scanning other sites to see what sort of consensus is being made of this film, and the praise it seems to receive looks past its humongous story flaws and goes right to the “inventiveness” of the kills. I know that such a mentality is the only reason film series like SAW or Final Destination exist, but The Collector does not deserve such praise for two major reasons: 1) Gore does not a good film make, and 2) seriously, the deaths are not all that inventive. Perhaps I’m a little over-exposed to horror films, especially the gory sorts, but snares and tripwires are not the work of a creative genius. What are the traps like? Imagine the Viet Cong only had one house and the kitchen utensils within it touse…that’s what you get; a lot of wires that lead to snares or moving blades. You want inventive? Stick with the inane traps clearly setup up by a supernaturally strong and efficient engineer in SAW (because Jigsaw could clearly assemble 1 ton worth of steal into a floating trap right? Right) or better yet, seek out a horror film that has a real story; something that conjurs up more than just shock reactions to ugly situations.
Widescreen 1.78:1. The picture is quite blurry to be honest. The editing is so fast it is hard to tell in the last half, but during the calmer bits we can see how everyone’s faces are covered by a layer of digital fuzz. Certainly not as sharp as the films razor traps.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English and French. I learned long ago that good sound is crucial to a horror film’s effectiveness (in the majority of cases) and this film does a good job of delivering a nice, immersible mix of creaks, wails, ticks and other scuttling bits of horror f/x in all the speakers, often isolated in one, making you want to look over your shoulder.
The soundtrack is comprised of spooky song intros, and non-diegetic sound effects, such as non-character screams that have been digitally mixed into the score and the token lub-dub of a heart.
Trailer: For this film.
Deletes and Alternate Ending: The deleted scenes are well worth skipping and the Alternate ending seems to be a gag, not meant to be considered.
Music Video (“Beast” by Nino Vega): A short burst of alt-rock that is visually comprised of film clips and some performance footage.
Collector Music: Sample tracks of all but two of the film’s soundtrack.
Commentary by the filmmakers: I don’t think they can explain nor excuse themselves…
Here’s an amusing thought that occurred to myself (and some friends of mine who saw the film). Imagine the killer is Kevin from Home Alone all grown up. Even THAT makes more sense than what we really get.
This film tries to be all style with an obsession with petty cruelties. Home invasion turned into a sick, sick house of horrors. Strictly for those whose brains are numb to sensations beyond the extreme.