Tuesday, 6 July 2010



This isn't the ideal movie if you're squeamish about spiders, because there's quite an arachnophile fetish at work here. You should probably also avoid it if you're averse to fishhooks through the skin, lopped fingers, bear traps, razorblades through the hands, nails through the bridge of the nose, spikes in the ear or just a plain old-fashioned disembowelling. Nor should you watch if you really want the cat and the dog to survive to the end. This is the most mean-spirited, humourless piece of torture porn in quite a while, which is as you'd expect from the writers of not one, not two, but four Saw films.

In fact the poster tag line for The Collector is "From The Writers Of Saw IV, Saw V and Saw VI" (omitting Saw VII, probably on the grounds that it hasn't been released yet): surely the dullest advertising slogan in years. They could have used "If He Wants You, He Won't Kill You", which is actually a line from the movie and sums it up a little better. The Collector himself is an unidentified individual in a gimp mask whose MO is to break into peoples' houses, torture and kill them for no reason at all (or none that is readily apparent) - except he keeps one alive to lock in a crate to act as bait for the next household. On this occasion, though, The Collector's systematic torture of the Chase family goes awry when a handyman who's been working on the house's renovations pops back to rob the safe to pay off his wife's debts. Unfortunately The Collector has spent the last few hours booby-trapping the house with tripwires attached to nailguns, chandeliers filled with knives, guillotines and the like....

It's complete nonsense, obviously: why has this maniac bothered to set up all these devices if he's not expecting company? How has he managed to rig up so many elaborate deathtraps in about five hours? What's the business with the bloke in the box - why bother when you're already in the house? How big is this house anyway? And yet: I did enjoy it. Considerably bloodier and with a higher wince factor than many recent genre offerings (remakes or not), it may be overedited and overscored with thumpy thrash/noise music, and it may have that horrible sickly look of the Saw movies. But it's got a high rate of look-away moments involving such prosthetic joys as stitching up mouths or taking out teeth with a hammer. I mean, it is a horror film after all and not the new Catherine Zeta-Jones romcom: look-away moments are to be encouraged, and in this instance the best is probably the room full of beartraps.

In summary, if you like blood and screaming, sadistic violence and sudden, spectacularly violent deaths, there's some grisly sick fun to be had. If you like cats....well, it's a shame about the cat. (Don't worry: it's not the cat that steps on the beartraps.)


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