I confused The Collector with other movies so many times! I’m quite a character, aren’t I? I think this movie was on Netflix Instant for a few months and every time I saw that silhouette of a character with some yellow around him, I thought it was the cover for the Keanu Reeves movie “The Watcher”. I knew that the descriptions didn’t match up, and I think I’ve even seen The Watcher, but I only have room in my head for one poster like that. The past few months, I’ve been hearing about a movie called “The Collection“, and the promotional artwork for that featured the back of a character’s head tying on a mask, but this time with a blue silhouette. Imagine my excitement when I had heard positive reviews of The Collection and realized I had seen that movie on Netflix and could watch it any time I wanted! WAIT, WHAT? THESE ARE TWO DIFFERENT MOVIES?! My mind was blown. Either way, I had heard good things about both The Collector AND The Collection so I figured I’d give the first movie a shot. Yeah, that’s right, sometimes I watch movies because I’ve heard GOOD things about them. Suck on THAT, all you shitty movies that I’ve seen. There’s going to be spoilers ahead, but this movie came out three years ago and the sequel just came out, so if you can’t handle the spoilers, then get the hell outta here ya dummy!
Between this and being in The Dark Knight Rises, it was a big year for Josh Stewart! Wait, this didn’t come out this year? Well, shit.
A couple return home from what we assume is a getting drunk party and they find a large trunk in their bedroom that wasn’t there when they left. There’s a note on it saying it’s an addition to the “collection”, and when they open it up, they scream, and the opening credits start. The movie then focuses on Arkin (Josh Stewart) who is installing home security equipment for a family who is about to go on vacation. After he leaves, we see him meet with his daughter and ex-wife, who are in desperate need of money, so we then see Arkin talking to someone who had set up the home security job just to come back later to rob the family. When Arkin does go back, he learns he’s not alone in the house, but rather than it being the family, it’s someone else who we’ll call, I don’t know, “The Collector”. Yeah, that has a good ring to it. This Collector has booby-trapped the entire place with household items, and Arkin learns that some of the family is still in the house, against their own will. Arkin has to manage sneaking around the house to try to help the family, especially their young daughter that reminds him or his own daughter, while also not alerting The Collector to his presence. From beartraps to fish hooks to knives and nails, most of the family is killed, but luckily Arkin is able to take the daughter away from the house. Unfortunately for Arkin, even after helping the little girl get away, The Collector catches up to him, throws him into a trunk similar to the one we see in the beginning, and the movie ends.
The Collector even booby-trapped the blindfold! You almost expected him to booby-trap all boobies! (don’t worry, the daughter whips them out safe and sound)
The opening credit sequence of this movie terrified me. Not terrified me because it was genuinely scary, but the credit sequence was so poorly made, I was nervous I was going to watch a terrible movie. There were a lot of sequences in the movie that felt like they were music videos from the 90’s. The acting wasn’t particularly strong, but it got the job done. Also, one of the earlier sequences involved terrible looking CGI hornets crawling on Arkin’s hand, so I was pretty nervous that this movie would be garbage. Despite my early reservations on the movie and even though the plot might not sound all that exciting, this whole movie actually comes together quite nicely. Even though there’s some sequences that are really bad and there’s no excuse for them, some sequences are done really well and are far more memorable than the bad ones. One particular shot was the POV of a lightning bolt striking the ground, and even though this sequence didn’t further the story along, it was cool to see this shot start in the clouds, push its way past the raindrops, and then when it hit the ground, we saw a wide shot that explained why we were seeing it. However, my absolute favorite sequence in the whole movie, which I grow more and more fond of after thinking about it, was a lot more straightforward. It was a somewhat slow motion sequence that followed the older daughter and her boyfriend from making out in front of her house, to making out inside her house, to having sex in her house, to The Collector attacking them, to her boyfriend falling onto a bunch of beartraps, to her being catapulted into a wall with tons of nails sticking out of it, killing her, all while Arkin just lays there watching. The effects in that scene weren’t even all that good, but the slow pacing of the scene, despite knowing what would happened, combined with Bauhaus’s “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” playing in the background, really made it a creepy sequence.
Hey, nice trunk! What are you, an elephant?! Hahahaha we are having some fun over here.
After doing some internet-ing, I learned that this movie was initially pitched as a prequel to the Saw franchise, which made a lot more sense. The whole house was booby-trapped, but nothing was nearly as elaborate as they were in that movie. Although not necessarily “believable”, it wasn’t quite as far-fetched as anything in that franchise. Although as far as story was concerned, it was supposed to be related to Saw, the whole tone reminded me a lot more of Laid to Rest. Unfortunately, Laid to Rest isn’t that good of a movie. It’s got some good kills, but the storyline, or lack thereof, make it a stinker. The Collector, on the other hand, had a similar body count, and had just as effective kills, but didn’t try to go too far with creating a story and just let the tension try to speak for itself. The game of cat and mouse between Arkin and The Collector, where the audience is unclear if the cat even knows the mouse is there, and the ultimate realization that Arkin had crossed paths with The Collector before, is what helps pass the time. Also, the simplicity of the story is another strength, because it just adds to the mystery of who this Collector is and what he’s after. What was Arkin stealing from that house? What was The Collector after? Who was the one building a collection and what did that collection contain? Why did The Collector’s eyes have a weird glow to them in the dark? Although it’s not without its flaws, which it definitely has, the gore, the neutral/vague plot, and atmosphere make this movie pretty enjoyable and I look forward to checking out the sequel.
Wolfman Moon Scale