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The Collector
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Collector More at IMDbPro »

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71 out of 115 people found the following review useful:

Original and refreshing yet somewhat bittersweet

7/10
Author: chrismsawin from United States
2 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Collector is a film that is somewhat hurt by its own hype. It's written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan (who also directs), the writing team who penned the last three Saw films (including part VI). News broke right before its release that the film was almost a prequel to Saw. In the horror community, being a part of the Saw franchise is a rather large achievement. Even if you're not a fan of the franchise, it's hard to deny how well the Saw films do at the box office as their gross revenue is sometimes up to ten times what the film's budget was. The down side is that The Collector seems to make this point blatantly obvious. The film gives off a sense of deja vu throughout its entire duration. The Collector's traps are very reminiscent of Jigsaw's traps, at least in the way they're set up (reverse bear trap in Saw compared to the bear trap scene in The Collector). The Collector also looks and feels like a Saw film. The quick edits that a lot of people expressed their dislike for in Saw are used more often than not in The Collector. Grainy and high contrast filters along with those quick edits make it a bit hard to distinguish what events are actually occurring on screen at times. The first ten minutes or so of the film feel like an extended music video. These qualities don't necessarily make the film bad, but a film that's advertised as being original shouldn't have so much in common with a well distinguished franchise in the same genre; let alone when some of the same people are involved. Something that may have been easily averted if the marketing campaign didn't throw that fact in the public's face.

With all that being said, the film still has enough originality going for it to bring in horror fans. While the film does have its flaws (the main one being, how'd The Collector have time to set up all these traps?), they actually don't take away from the overall enjoyment for the film. What The Collector collects is rather interesting and even with its similarities to Saw, it's an original horror film that isn't a remake. Something we don't see a lot of anymore. What also might make or break the deal for horror fans seeing this film is that it doesn't shy away from blood and guts. The bear trap sequence alone is rather gruesome, but you do get to see some intestines make a cameo. So this definitely isn't for the squeamish. The film did leave a few open-ended questions, but they don't seem to be negative. The most memorable one is more of a sense of wondering why a certain character did a certain act rather than it being a glaring mistake. If this gets turned into a franchise (which depending on its reception, it just might), we'll probably get answers in the sequel(s). The Collector also seemed to establish a bit of tension at times, while the closing moments of the film were similar to a seesaw. The events that unfold seem to be going in one direction, but then quickly shift and go in another direction.

TV spots are saying things like, "Horror has a new icon," and that The Collector is the best horror film to come out in years. While the latter could be debated, the first part of that statement could very well be true. I, personally, wouldn't mind seeing more of The Collector as I like the idea and the character. The film as a whole, however, may have let its influences shine brighter than its original aspects. In retrospect, The Collector is an entertaining horror film composed of a decent antagonist, standard acting, an original storyline, and a few buckets of gore.

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43 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

Not Afraid To Be Horror

8/10
Author: t-g-orrell from Indiana
8 July 2010

I've read reviews off and on that dog this movie. I wonder sometimes if the people that dislike this movie so much, dislike the horror genre. If I were to rate a musical, I would probably give it a low score myself.

This movie is not perfect, but because the horror in it is done well enough, it is worthwhile to suspend some disbelief to go along with the ride. This isn't a PG-13 teen scare. People tote the term "torture-porn" I think because the killing is done is such an unapologetic, organized fashion. Every kill is planned and gruesome. In the horror genre, what actually is wrong with that?

While Rob Zombie and others are destroying monsters (Zombie basically killed the icon of Michael Myers) by humanizing them too much, it is refreshing to have a new killer killing for killing-sake. Isn't that worth a ride (assuming you are into horror)?

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37 out of 50 people found the following review useful:

Visceral fun

Author: Justin Stokes from Cleburne, TX
31 July 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Arkin is an ex-con turned handyman who cases the houses that he works on. When his wife needs money to pay off some dangerous loan sharks, he decides to break into the house that he's currently fixing up, that of the wealthy Chase family, ahead of schedule. The family is all set to go on a vacation, so he figures it shouldn't be too much of a problem. When he hits the house late at night, everything seems normal aside from a suspicious guard dog leashed in the front yard. Arkin shrugs it off and goes for the safe, but while attempting to crack the combination, he hears someone moving about in the house. You see, Arkin isn't the only intruder on the property. A sadistic madman has beaten him to the punch, only he isn't interested in collecting gemstones. He's interested in collecting people that he deems worthy, and those that he doesn't will meet a most unpleasant end.

Going into this film on the weekend of it's theatrical release, at the very least I had hoped for a pleasant diversion. It had certainly caught my eye, but the director's connection with the atrocious Saw franchise gave me reservations. Fortunately, not only did I have nothing to worry about, but seeing it wound up being the best time I had in a theater last year. What transpires for the majority of the film's running time is a tense game of cat and mouse between Arkin and the collector. You can tell that the latter suspects someone else is running around the house, but Arkin manages to avoid him while trying to rescue the family in the process. In fact, the collector never would have known about Arkin, as he was out of the house without ever having been spotted. That damn kid!

Marcus Dunstan and his crew really did a lot with the budget they had. The film has a unique look and sound design. The look is a large part of what drew me to the film in the first place back when the TV spots were airing. Solid use of music as well. It's fierce, it's visceral and it's nasty, but the atmosphere created here is what sets the thing apart from others. That and the collector himself, a wicked villain who goes after his victims with an intensity that I found refreshing. No slow slasher walk here. The eyes were a nice touch too, reflective like those of an animal.

The security system from Hell is an intriguing twist on your typical home invasion setup. It certainly makes for some unique situations. There's a different trap around every corner, so no running at full blast to make an escape and you had better watch where you fall. The boyfriend's fate is the film's best set piece, almost Grand Guignol in it's execution. There's also one demise that can best be described as human flypaper.

There are some suspension of disbelief flaws in there, but I enjoyed the ride too much to really mind in this case. It's a mean horror film that is strong on mood and takes itself seriously. Hard to believe it's from the guys behind various Saw movies, as I can't stand any of those.

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98 out of 175 people found the following review useful:

Disgusting,Suspenseful, Awesome

8/10
Author: Mister Nelson from United States
1 August 2009

I saw this film yesterday with two of my friends.It was this or Funny People but I've lost faith in Adam Sandler since "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" And none of us wanted to watch Harry Potter so walking in to the The Collector it was fifty fifty that it was going to be any good considering it's from the writers of the last couple of Saw movies. But I was surprised at how great it was. The setup was quick the violence is gory and there was some scary disturbing moments plus the last couple of minutes were really intense. And The Collector puts Jigsaw,Jason,and Freddy to shame at least in my opinion.Plus this was way better than the amazingly crappy Transformers 2.

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51 out of 85 people found the following review useful:

The movie hard core horror fans have been waiting for

9/10
Author: aprilataylor from United States
31 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you're tired of all of the watered down PG-13 so-called "horror" movies of late and if the thought of sitting through one more remake (or "re-imagining" as the studios have dubbed them) makes you want to tear your hair out then The Collector will be a welcome respite. Yes, there are similarities to Saw and Hostel and yes some will deride this flick as being nothing more than the latest entry into the "torture porn" genre but if you're a horror fan and you let those things deter you from experiencing this film on the big screen then you're going to miss out on a truly enjoyable evening at the movies.

Full disclosure: I LOVED the original Saw and have at least liked all of the sequels. I wasn't a big fan of the original Hostel and there have been several other so-called "torture" flicks that have elicited no response from me other than a big yawn. The writers/directors of The Collector were involved in the creation of Saw 4-6 but I think that they've done a much better job with this movie.

Don't go into this flick expecting a complete retread of Saw because you're not going to get it. Sure, there's a killer who utilizes a form of traps to kill people but his methods are different. First off, he gets his own hands dirty, unlike Jigsaw, who sits back and watches from a distance. Second, redemption apparently doesn't matter to him. The major difference between The Collector and Jigsaw is that Jigsaw gives people a chance to save themselves. The Collector doesn't want you to live... unless you're the one that he's chosen to collect (see tag line, "He always takes one").

This film has a basic plot but it's in its simplicity that it excels. There are no convoluted layers to see past (or to laugh at, as is so often the case) and the basic setup doesn't try to be anything fancy. You'll learn everything that you need to know about the main characters within the first 15 minutes and then you can just sit back and watch everything unfold.

The camera work is excellent and the film comes across as extremely dark, discordant and claustrophobic. The soundtrack is perfectly in tune with the feel of the movie and really heightens the timing of each of the scares.

By now I'm sure that you've heard that the film is very bloody and that's an understatement. There is nothing contained within the trailers that will prepare you for what you're going to see on the big screen. The film made everyone in the audience be they young, old, male or female, gasp at least once.

If you're into gore I highly recommend that you see this film and make sure that you stay until the end of the credits.

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45 out of 78 people found the following review useful:

Worth a view from all these CGI movies!

8/10
Author: joselnieves81 from United States
13 August 2009

I have seen all the big summer blockbusters and I have to say they were good some even great but I've grown a little old on all the CGI. The Collector yes it does take away from SAW and HOSTLE but in its on way is worth a viewing. Yes the story has many plot holes and it leaves you guessing on why and how but if your a big gore and horror fan then this is the movie to see. It holds nothing back in form of gore and torture. Cheaply done and yet very well executed. No big name actors or big budget effects. In my opinion its what has been missing this summer. I would like the second part as in SAW 2 to answer all of the questions that this movie left us guessing. I look forward to seeing The Collector character again!

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29 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

one badass mousetrap

7/10
Author: bihaughs from United States
3 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

for horror movie fans, 'The Collector' has everything you would want and nothing you expect. From the writers of 'Saw 4-6' comes a new chapter in America's love affair with the sub-genre known as "torture porn". To me it plays more like an R-rated 'Home Alone'. You know, if Macauley Culkin's traps were made VERY effective.

I was expecting a standard horror/slasher flick when taking my seat and was pleasantly surprised. the opening credits mix somewhere between the opening sequence of 'Se7en' and a Tool music video, sets up perfectly the mood in which you will spend the next hour and a half. confused but intrigued. freaked out but with a big grin on your face. there is plenty of gore for fans but not nearly as much as one would expect from graduates of the Saw school of horror. whilst our "hero" sneaks amongst the booby-trapped household trying not to set up a carpet of steel bear traps (awesome!) or tripwires connected to swinging blades of death (also nice), perhaps the creepiest thing in the movie is the way in which the director (sparingly) uses the killer. We rarely actually see him acting out his brutality upon his victims. But when crouched in a corner, watching two hot young teens do what they do best, and the light reflects off of the corneas of his dead eyes hidden behind that odd silk mask... yeesh! Another pleasant surprise to the film is it's use of quiet, a rarity in horror movies (especially torture porn). Most of the film's action is in hiding which means the protagonist must avoid detection at all times. There were screams in the theater, but about 89% of those were coming from the audience.

I would definitely recommend this to a movie fan with a strong gut and a healthy sense of "what's going to be behind Door #3?" curiosity. Bonus points for being the fist movie to actually visualize the classic childhood game of "Can't-Touch-the-Floor-Because-the-Floor-is-Hot-Lava" well played

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52 out of 96 people found the following review useful:

Could have been great

6/10
Author: Siamois from Canada
11 February 2010

As the story of the Collector unfolds, it quickly becomes obvious that writer/director Marcus Dunstan is knowledgeable when it comes to the horror genre and knows what makes people click.

First, there is a 70s/80s feel to this movie. From the dirty-ish cinematography to the pacing, editing and the casting choices, a lot of this reminds me of the less polished horror films of these decades.

One of the aspects where this movie shines is with its protagonist Arkin. A down-on-his- luck handyman struggling to pay his bills. Josh Stewart was a revelation for me in this role. I can't wait to see what the future has in store for this actor. Is he a one-note actor who was perfectly cast or is this some serious talent? I for one would lean toward the latter. Stewart is perfect in making us feel Arkin is a decent guy with a will of is own but just suffers from a total lack of respect by the people around him. He oozes charisma despite the "loser" role he has to work with and reminds me a little bit of Sean Penn. What makes the film effective is really exploring the character of Arkin early on. There is a simple situation driving this man to do what he is about to do and we can relate to him.

Unfortunately, the movie begins to lose steam when Arkin gets inside the house. At first, the traps and situations are intriguing. But character and story development halts to a crawl. Who is the collector and what is the meaning of this collection? We don't really know and Dunstan doesn't seem to care in the least. Themes explored throughout the movies? Again, doesn't seem very relevant.

As the story progresses, the traps become the star of the film and the whole thing seems more and more far-fetched. What should be the meat around the bone becomes the entire movie. The concept seems more like the latest horror gimmick. It's a somewhat interesting and entertaining one but one must deplore all the character development of Arkin if the rest of the movie was really just about mindless fun.

All in all, this is a solid movie reminiscent of the trashy, dirty 70s and early 80s horror flicks. But it seems to be lacking in themes and symbolism that made those movies so great and I sensed the writing lost its purpose mid-way. I also deplore what I sense like a desperate attempt to build a franchise, as opposed to make a great movie. The movie seems like a setup for sequels, a TV series pilot more than a single work of art to be enjoyed.

The movie deserves a 5.5 and is relatively well-done. If this review seems harsh, it's just that the first half hour or so lets you think the movie will be much more powerful than it actually ends up being.

Very curious to see if a sequel will be done for this one.

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Pieces

6/10
Author: kosmasp
26 September 2010

The movie has a very strong beginning. But when you get to the end (or maybe even very early on into the movie), you will realize that there are quite a few flaws in this movie. There might some elaborate ideas involved, but you can't help but wonder why? Especially because there are just so many easier ways to get what you need. On the other hand you could also say, that there might be no way, that someone who is crazy can know that.

Of course this is a horror movie (the tag on the cover/poster should be a giveaway) and so you will have quite a few bloody scenes in the movie (I think it is not yet available, completely uncut in Germany), so you should know that this is not so much a psychological movie (a bit too), but more a movie about violence. Question is, do you really want to watch that? You could talk about an "overkill" of an idea, but that pun would be too easy. And in the end, it's not completely bad ... I just wished it had stayed with the strong beginning

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11 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Predictable, boring and unbelievable

3/10
Author: czjrox_2 from United States
4 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Collector, a new horror that's trying to bring about a new horror icon such as Michael Myers or Freddy Krueger, had good intentions but ultimately fails. The basic summary is an ex con skilled at opening safes, decides to invade the family's home (while they're on vacation) where he has been doing housework to steal a jewel intended on paying his wife's debt. But when he enters the house he discovers that not only has the family not left, but they're being held captive by a man known only as The Collector. Their only hope, the con is forced to race against the clock to save the family from the madman and find the missing daughter who's hiding in the house. There's just one problem: The Collector has rigged the entire house with boobytraps intent on killing those who trip the wire.

Overall, the entire thing is just too unbelievable. I couldn't even enjoy the clever mastery of the tricks, for they were too far fetched. The acting was sub-par, especially from the leading hero. He was as dry as unbuttered toast and I found myself not being able to care less if he lived or died. And it's obvious from the beginning that the movie is trying to re-invent a classic horror movie and icon so everyone dies, lamely and The Collector, while very much human, never portrays a scar. The basic point is that films like this are just getting old. I'm begging, begging for some originality, but won't receive it from this film.

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