Movie News & Reviews

'The Collector' deals in rip-offs

What's the worst thing in the world? The magma-lamprey that lives in the Earth's core and is going to swallow us all in 2012.

The other worst thing in the world is movies that copy other movieswhen they obviously have no idea why they're copying them in the firstplace. It's like getting a root canal because all the cool kids havefestering cavities. Well you know what? If we always followed thatinstinct, we'd still be having fistfights with T-Rexes and combing ourbeards with tiger bones. Not nicely carved bones, either, but likewhole femurs, and you try telling a girl her breechclout makes herlook thin when you have to speak around a tiger skeleton.

Can't be done. That's why there was all that head-clubbing. I'm in themood to crack some skulls right now myself, but that's less about mywell-chronicled girl troubles (since when were you supposed to pay inadvance?) and more about The Collector, a stupid ripoff of alot of things that were stupid enough to begin with.

-- Trailer, times, theaters.

Home security installer Josh Stewart has been setting up jewelerMichael Reilly Burke's system for a while now, but he's got anothermotive: stealing the giant gemstone in Burke's home safe.

When Burke is scheduled for a family vacation, Stewart heads in — onlyto find a killer has captured the family and is busy torturing them todeath. Trapped inside the booby-trapped house, he and the killer entera deadly game of dumbass and dumbass.

The Collector's got a pretty sweet concept: bad man goes intohome to do bad things, only to find much badder man is already theredoing much worse things. Everybody enjoys seeing the predator becomethe prey. That's why it's so much fun to drop kittens into pits fullof badgers.

Director Marcus Dunstan sets out to ruin that potential as swiftly aspossible. Opening with what can only be the rejected bits of a NineInch Nails video, he then robs the Saw franchise wholesale toprovide us with a poorly motivated lunatic who brutalizes people withludicrously elaborate improvised contraptions, like if Thomas Edisongot beat up a lot as a kid while all the girls laughed at him. Forgood measure, there's some Hellraiser-style torture thrown in,too, because you can never have enough of the second-worst horrorfranchise in cinema history.

Turns out Dunstan wrote Saw IV-VI with his co-writer here,Patrick Melton, which raises the question of whether it's reallystealing when you're stealing from yourself. I'm going to go ahead andsay yes, if only on the fleeting chance they'll both be arrested forintellectual theft and locked away in intellectual jail, where forobvious reasons none of the brain-gangs will accept them and willinstead spend the duration of their sentence forced to performlibrettos while wearing lacy doublets and crotchless hose.

That should give them plenty of time to think about what they've donein dragging out one more gimmicky and utterly shallow psychopath who'smore the Platonic embodiment of killing people with knife-loadedchandeliers than he is in any way a believable character.

As if that's not enough, every scene is smotheringly overdirected,filled with slow-mo and drowned out with musical cues, which wasprobably necessary to make us believe all these idiots could rattlearound the house without hearing each other in the first 90seconds.

There already were several scenes where I had no idea why anything washappening. I still have no clue what the Collector even does. Thenonstop use of music instead of actual sound only makes the plotharder to follow. Considering how simple the story is, that's justdisgraceful. Confused, derivative, and full of holes, TheCollector is like a worse sequel to a movie that was too awful toget made in the first place.

Grade: D-