The Collector Reviews
Grade = 7/10
I was disappointed with the development of the Collector character, as well as the film opting for a seemingly taped on Hollywood ending for the last 25 minutes. They were still alright, but there were a number of paths it could've taken to avoid the usual horror film cliches and safe choices and it didn't (also leaving it open for a sequel, which I hate). The Collector character was creepy and mysterious to begin with, but then was shown a little too much and we're not given enough information about him. The 'collecting' seemed like a late addition and didn't really make sense. We're just told 'he collects people' and that's it. It never develops that idea far enough to make it interesting.
People who label any film with a drop of blood as 'gratuitous torture porn' should avoid it. There is a nice amount of gore, but it is used properly, as well as the rest of the film creating some amazing tension. There are a lot of plot holes, realism flaws etc, but they were easy to look past due to the intense atmosphere created - and it's very difficult to find horror films that create this kind of atmosphere (and have good gore to boot!).
The Collector supposedly tests his victims to decide which of them he will "collect", however the film displays very little evidence of this; the man and wife of the family being tormented are simply held in the basement and tortured, which reduces their home being filled with traps to nothing more than an over-engineered means of preventing escape, as the only people to actually fall foul of the traps are people that weren't expected to be there at all. There is no sense that The Collector has planned any of this, or is following any kind of pattern or ritual, which leaves him as little more than a silent slasher villain rather than any kind of true character, and while the fact that he collects people is hinted at, it is never elaborated upon in any meaningful way.
In the end this all results in a film that mostly just glorifies in its gore and trap design, reminiscent of the later Saw films (which coincidentally shared the same writers), but lacks the hook of Jigsaw's twisted sense of purpose. There are no real scares to be had, and limited suspense, leaving us a horror film that doesn't really work all that well on any level besides mindless viewing.
It does however have its moments, such as Arkin, the unfortunate would be thief, struggling between his own survival, and rescuing The Collector's victims whom he had come to rob himself. However, this doesn't make up for the wasted potential of a film that seems to have become little more than a means of introducing a trilogy. There were great opportunities for twists to add some substance, for example if The Collector knew all along what Arkin was planning, and that the house was in fact engineered to test him and not the unlucky family, but instead The Collector's haphazard brutality simply lurches around without any clearly realised plan, just like his film.