Monday, November 1, 2010

The Collector (2009)

The Collector is a movie that some of the horror blogs were abuzz about last year, and I'd been wanting to see it, so when I saw it was playing On Demand, I decided to give it a go. And um, I gave it about 45 minutes. Movies like this are so subjective that it's hard to explain my feelings on this particular one. But I'll try.

The Collector is a fairly simple movie. A guy in serious need of money decides to steal a gem from this house he'd been working on. When he goes in, he gradually realizes that the family, who was supposed to be gone on vacation, are actually still in the house, being tortured by a crazy dude who's rigged the whole house with nasty traps.

That's it. Dude tries to save the people in the house without falling into any of the traps. It's a fairly bloody, violent movie, graphic violence, yadayada. I suppose the accepted phrase lately is "torture porn." I think the term came about in response to movies like Hostel and the Saw franchise. And I have to say, I actually liked Hostel. Saw, not so much. But the problem with Saw wasn't the violence, although it was pretty gross, but rather the stoopid-ass twist ending.

The only way I can begin to get my head around the difference between my reaction to The Collector, versus my reaction to Hostel or something like Wolf Creek, is to talk about how you feel when you watch a movie. How you feel about what might or might not be intended. Hostel is a movie that people bag on quite a lot, but in the end, it was telling a story. It didn't feel like the plot was there to hang some gruesome violence onto. There was a story to tell and the violence was there to flesh it out.

Another way to think of it is to think of slasher movies that work and those that don't. Halloween was a movie about the Boogeyman. He happened to kill people, but the movie was meant to scare the bejeebus outta you. Slashers that don't work usually don't work because they feel like someone decided they wanted to off a bunch of teenagers in interesting ways so they wrote some good kills and then pasted some stoopid teenagers into it.

The Collector felt more like the latter. It didn't feel like it was telling a story. And the more I think about it, I don't even know if that's true. All I really know is that the movie was icky. Icky in a way that Hostel wasn't. Even Wolf Creek wasn't. It was nasty and mean-spirited. And I'm not some prude who can't handle nasty and mean-spirited. I just didn't like this brand of it.

And that's still completely inadequate and doesn't really explain why I could watch Hostel and enjoy it but this one squicked me out. And I've been sitting on this review for way too long and I need to just post it. But it's something to revisit in the future.

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