THE DEMO CORNER
Release Date: July 31, 2009
Studio: Fortress Features
Rated R 1 hr 30 mins
Josh Stewart: Arkin
Michael Reilly Burke: Michael
Andrea Roth: Victoria
Madeline Zima: Jill
Juan FernŠndez: The Collector
I was watching Attack of the Show! (Iím sorry, itís Olivia Munnís fault) last year when I first saw an advertisement for The Collector. The premise had me hooked immediately; Iím a big sucker for films where characters must find redemption. The plot revolved around a man planning to rob his employer only to find that someone is already in the house. Now, instead of robbing the joint, he must save the family from a homicidal madman.
Once again, because I need to know everything about the movies I watch, I was disappointed to learn that co-writer/director Marcus Dunstan wrote the last three Saw films. While I donít harbor any grudge toward the franchise, I was afraid that The Collector would stumble into the same pitfalls that have hurt the Saw films. And unfortunately, I couldnít have been closer to the truth.
After opening with some prior victims of The Collector and credits ripped directly from Seven, The Collector begins with Arkin (Josh Stewart) doing some construction at the home of Michael and Victoria. He meets their daughters, the young Hannah and teenage minx Jill (Madeline Zima of Californication fame), and bonds with Hannah due to the fact he has a child the same age. On the personal side, things arenít going well for Arkin, as his wife owes money to loan sharks and is planning to run away with his daughter if they canít pay up. Arkin has been sizing up Michaelís house for a few weeks though, knowing that heís in the jewelry business. He plans to break into the house that night and steal a big rock to pay off his wifeís debts. Plus, Michael and Victoria are supposed to be leaving town, so the job should be easy.
Itís at this point when The Collector descends into absolute absurdity. After Arkin successfully enters the house, he finds that someone else is there. Michael and Victoria are tied up in the basement and have been tortured. Hannah is missing and Jill is out with a boyfriend (I bet you can guess what fate befalls the boyfriend). The rest of the house is booby-trapped to the extreme for no other reason than to provide the viewer with several graphic death scenes (technically, itís to prevent the familyís escape). The fact that one man by himself rigged the house so thoroughly throughout the course of the day is mind-boggling. Added to the fact that even the most insane person wouldnít go to these lengths, and you can start to see why The Collector is such a ridiculous film.
The character of The Collector is essentially Jigsaw Jr. It came as no shock to me when I learned afterward that The Collector was originally written to be a prequel to the Saw series, because thatís exactly what the film feels like. While his identity is hidden, his character traits and actions all reek of ideas Iíve seen before.
Throughout the rest of the movie, characters continuously make the most implausible decisions that only serve to keep the film going. Arkin has several opportunities to attack and/or kill The Collector, but passes on the chances. This contrivance reminds me of the Saw series in general: sure, the traps are cool, but if the characters were to make a few different decisions, nothing that the criminal mastermind has planned would work correctly.
On the bright side, those graphic death scenes I previously mentioned are both interesting and visually appealing. Despite the implausibility of the situation, I found myself delighted when characters met their demise. Plus, we get to see Madeline Zimaís lovely giblets, which is always a plus (though she doesnít punch anybody in the face during sex).
I wonít lie, despite the fact that The Collector fails in every way possible, I did enjoy myself. Itís the fun kind of shitty film thatís great to watch with a few buddies and a few beers. Beyond that, I canít really recommend the film, unless you feel the need to see people slaughtered by the most unconventional means possible. In that caseÖI think weíll be good friends.
March 31, 2010
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Reviewer: Gregory J.