The Collector (dvd review)

The Collector comes billed as "from the writers of Saw IV, V, and VI". This did not build hope in me because I thought those Saw movies were terrible. Luckily The Collector doesn't fall into that same realm.

The Story: Home renovator Arkin is down on his luck. His wife owes money to a loan shark and Arkin's last paycheck wasn't enough to cover the money owed. Arkin hears that the family he is working for has a rare gem hidden in a safe somewhere in the house. Arkin decides that this is the only way he will be able to save his wife from being killed.

Arkin breaks into the house he has been working on, in search of the safe. While he is there he hears screams coming from the basement. The family, who is supposed to be on vacation, is being tortured in the basement by a masked psychopath. Arkin decides that he is going to save the family, but he has to out wit the killer. He finds that the killer has booby trapped the entire house, making escape virtually impossible. Now it is up to Arkin to save the family and get the gem so he can save his family.

The Skinny: Horror movies are a dime a dozen and torture movies are becoming even cheaper than that, so it is a relief that The Collector is actually good. I was worried that the movie would set up its premise- which is a good one- then settle in with countless scenes of people being tortured, but The Collector is smarter than that. It takes the premise and works with it, building up suspense while give us some pretty well thought out scares. I am not ashamed to say that I jumped a few times during this movie.

The movie takes place in one location, but we never feel tired of it. Yeah we see the same places over and over, but the movie sets each one of them up for the payoff. There were a few times that I wasn't sure where the characters were, but that is a minor problem.

What is a bigger problem, one that kept this movie from getting a higher star rating, is a few questions that popped into my mind as I watched the movie. If you don't want the movie spoiled for you then stop reading. SPOILER ALERT! How is it that the killer was able to set up these elaborate booby traps in such a short amount of time? I mean, the whole house has traps. It would seem that the killer would've needed more time. Also, how does the killer get away at the end? The police know who they are looking for and, surely, they would have seen a van leaving from the area around the house after it blew up. SPOILER ALERT OVER!

Other than these questions, I had a fun time watching The Collector. It's nice to get a well-made, well paced horror movie that doesn't rely on blood and guts- which it has plenty of, but you could take most of them out and still have a good movie- and tells a story that is simple, yet involving. I definitely think that The Collector is one of the best over-looked movies of 2009.

The DVD: The Collector come in a standard amary case with full color disc art. There are 16 chapters.

The Picture: Vivendi has given us a pretty good transfer. Presented in it's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the transfer is pretty solid. I detected some noise at the begining of the movie, but it goes away pretty quickly.

The Sound: We get a very good English 5.1 surround mix. This movie depends on loud noises and the track handles them well.

The Goodies: We are given some decent special features. Except for the alternate ending and deleted scenes, the extras consist of advertisments for the soundtrack.

Audio Commentary: Featuring the director and the writer with a few phone calls to others that worked on the movie, this is a very solid commentary. The particapants talk about the origins of the movie-originally titled The Midnight Man-and how they got the rights to the various songs used in the movie. If you only watch one extra on this movie, this should be it.

Deleted Scenes: Here you will find two deleted scenes and an alternate ending. The two deleted scenes are pointless and would have dragged the pacing down. The alternate ending is a real big downer and if the filmmakers had used it, the runtime for the movie would have been cut substantally.

Nico Vega Music Video "Beast": Pretty standard music video featuring clips from the movie. The song is very forgettable.

The Collector Music: This is an audio-only sampling of the movie's soundtrack.

Rounding out the extras is the red-band Theatrical Trailer.

Wrap Up: The Collector is a very well-made and intense horror movie that gets a decent, but not great DVD release.

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