Its one thing to be totally scared of a home invasion movie, but its a whole other thing to have a composite of a psychotic torture movie with a regular B & E. Such was the case for The Collector, which my brother and I first watched when it came out in 2009. After my brother found out that there was a sequel in 2012 called The Collection, I decided to watch it again, and boy was I just as creeped out, if not more, six years later.
Arkin is a twice convicted felon for theft trying to turn over a new life and earning his keep as a construction worker. But the straight and narrow seems to evade him as his wife gets in a bind with some loan sharks who threaten their family. Against his conscience, Arkin breaks into the home of the rich family he is working for, thinking that they were leaving town for a vacation. Unfortunately for him, another predator has marked the home as well and he has a mean taste for torture.
When I first watched The Collector, I was totally scared. This is the type of horror that has enough blood and gore to rival the Saw movies. Each booby trap was well thought out and intricately done and because of the small space that was the house, it seemed even more scary and dangerous to move around, adding to the suspense of the film.
As if the implied threat was not enough to scare the living daylights out of audiences, the film also employed several very macabre, and graphic torture scenes for good measure, leaving no doubt that The Collector is not someone who should be taken lightly. He is totally psychotic and the fact that he never showed his real face to the audience makes him a more menacing figure.
As for Arkin, I believe this film should have catapulted Josh Stewart to superstardom. Despite playing an antihero of sorts because he has flirted with the other side of the law, there is a certain vulnerability to the character and a certain morality that makes the audience root for him. First off, his soft spot for the little ones shows his humanity, and even while he was indeed trying to rob the family, he risked himself time and again to go back and save the Chases. His nobility was further exemplified by the fact that he was trying to protect the little girl Hannah, even willing to sacrifice himself just so the villain would not get his hands on the girl. And the amount of pain that he endured — even I was willing to give him a medal of valor.
All in all kudos to the entire team behind this low budget movie because they really were able to make the most of the $6 million budget allotted to them for this film. It was well executed from start to finish, and did not seem formulaic despite the fact that it borrowed some of the premise from other films. It was able to maintain a sense of mystery and drama despite the violence and craziness that was prevalent throughout the movie. It managed to retain a sense of humanity and make a hero out of an imperfect man and that’s what made it such a huge success in my book.