The writers of Saw and i think they also wrote Feast, make their directing debut with this neat, brutal horror that hits all the right buttons, and then some! The set up could not be more basic. A guy doing some work on a rich man’s house is having money issues, has borrowed off the wrong people and needs to get some money, fast! He’s an expert thief, so after working on this rich guys house out in the country, and forming a close bond with the guys very young daughter, he decides to rob their safe one night when their out. Couldn’t be easier? Well, after getting to know the characters and the main thief, who looks very much like a young Sean Penn, and does a fine job indeed, we get to it. One stormy night he enters the house with his safe decoding tool and plans to get his loot.
An extremely tense scene see’s our thief going for the safe, but stopping as he hears a noise from downstairs. We soon realise he is not along, and a horrific, brutal, vicious killer known as the Collector has also decided to come into the house and set up traps. He also has the Mum and Dad tied up downstairs and is torturing them. I will confess to being totally gripped during this scene, and just a little freaked out. Let me explain. The thief is superb, and we get a cat and mouse game as he tip toes around the house, closely followed by the Collector who believes he may have heard something. What really freaked me was the traps suddenly appearing, its really clever stuff. See, they weren’t there before, and as our thief sneaks around, more vicious traps appear. We have a room full of bear traps, cheese wire set up very much like that in Cube and Resident Evil (you can’t see it), glue on the floor, knives attached to a chandelier which is attached to a piece of string that when tripped will come crashing down! You get the idea. The traps are not massively inventive, but nasty and viciously placed.
The music helps this tight little horror along brilliantly. In fact, its probably the best use of music since Rob Zombies House of 1000 Corpses, its superb and adds a real edge to everything. The Collector himself is one of the scariest looking, and damn fucking vicious killers i have seen in a horror for many years. He wears a strange mask over his face, so al you see is his piercing eyes that shine almost like cats eyes in the light, and even tho you never actually see his face,you can see its a bit distorted. What i really liked is how brutal this guy is. Often killers in a film are beaten a little too easily, or they never quite go that bit further to get what they want. This fucker does, oh god does he. For the first time in quite a while i found myself trying to close the door on him as he was chasing the thief, and i wanted the door shut. This sadistic fuck wants blood and will stop at nothing to get it. Also, when he does get into one on one combat, its so refreshing to see that the killer can actually handle himself without a weapon! Trust me, this guy is just the best bad guy to have come along is years and you will love him.
I have said that the torture-porn genre is dying on its arse and needs something inventive and a bit special if its gonna have any effect on me. The Collector has that, and finally here is a torture-porn film to beat! But saying that, the torture scenes are not where the film’s strongest points are. Its the claustrophobic cat and mouse game between a thief who you come to really like, and a sadistic killer who you would run a mile from if you saw him in the street. At only 90 minutes it doesn’t outstay its welcome, and even tho it never looks like its running out of idea, i think the running time is just perfect. It manages to keep its nail biting level of tension right the way through. This aint gonna be the best horror of the year, but so far, its most certainly been the most fun!