I’m constantly complaining about unoriginal horror, and lazy remakes. My opinions on the A Nightmare on Elm Street remake is just one example in a long line of grumbling, whining and whimpering as a sequence of great 80s villains are revamped into pale imitations of their former glory. It is therefore a pleasure to start typing up a review of a film that looks to produce an heir to those evil exponents of horror.
The heist is centred on Arkin (Josh Stewart), a builder with some cash-flow problems, a young daughter and a wife in debt to some bad dudes. Luckily, he’s an expert safe-cracker and has set up a deal with a local gangster to get into a wealthy house nearby and steal some precious stones from their safe. Less luckily, a psychopath named ‘The Collector’ has his eye on the same household: but for very different reasons.
One of the biggest pluses for the film is that the mushy setup for the human story of Arkin is quickly and efficiently dispensed with, and the formalities that see him locked up inside the house with The Collector are equally snappy… not least because of the number of traps in the deviously booby-trapped house Arkin springs before he learns once and for all that this madman is no amateur.
Once the battle for survival began I couldn’t help but see the film as a bit of a horror ‘Home Alone’, but there are plenty of devious twists and conundrums (think the later ‘Saw‘ outings, but with less pontification) to have you squirming in your seat in the tension, and the gory endings met by some of the protagonists are not half bad either. Be warned though, as The Collector goes about his rampage, there is a fluffy victim that may upset the animal lovers among you!
As to the head honcho himself, The Collector is a decent continuation of the Michael Myers – Jason Vorhees canon of stone-cold killers with an obsession to feed. He displays all of the relentlessly ruthless characteristics required of the role, and even has his unique angle (which you can begin filling out just from his name).
The biggest problem that this film has is that, by continuing the aforementioned canon, is dices with predictability; and by trying to freshen it up a little, it risks losing everything that made these movies great. The balance struck by director Marcus Dunstan is about as good as you could hope for: he clearly revels in the dark side of his antagonist, and he’s wholeheartedly embraced the quasi-puzzler side of horror found in movies like Saw and Fermat’s Room in his quest for something a little different. The result is something that is occasionally predictable, but mostly just great horror fun.
It’s not a classic, but I have a good feeling about The Collector as a new horror villain with a bit of mileage – providing that careful balance can be held for a while longer…
This article was first posted on June 23, 2010