Movies From the Black Lagoon: The Collecto

Movies From the Black Lagoon
The Collector - 2009, rated R
By Tom Doty

The writers of the last three "Saw" movies concocted this suspense filled thrill ride that deserved a bigger theatrical push . Nail biting suspense ensues when a family finds itself pitted against a sadistic serial killer in their own home. Their only hope of survival rests on the slumping shoulders of the troubled man who has also broken into their r home-to rob them.
You have to love a film that dares to mess with you from the very beginning. It opens with a couple returning to their remote estate. They are surprised to find a crate has been deposited in their bedroom. They are even more shocked when the crate begins shaking while moans of pain emanate from within. I would venture to guess that they are downright perturbed by the time a shadow cloaked figure darts out from behind them but the scene ends abruptly and we never get to see what happens next.
The film shifts to another remote, and decidedly swank, home. Workmen are scurrying about finishing chores while the family prepares to leave on vacation. The family includes a teenage daughter(who feels that she's above such cheerful outings)and a six year old, Hannah, who is too busy conducting a tea party to notice all of the drama. Next we meet our protagonist, Arkin, who becomes the guest of honor at the tea party. He's actually there to install security bars on the estate's windows but you've got to love a guy who takes time out for a tea party with a six year old, her adorable stuffed bears, and a standoffish family cat.
Turns out that Arkin has a daughter of his own and he is happy to get home to her. His ex-wife, however, is another story. She is in debt to a loan shark and needs cash by midnight. Arkin isn't pleased with the news but his devotion to his daughter trumps any reservations he might have and he decides to come up with the dough. Turns out that he knows so much about security because he moonlights as a thief. He contacts the local gangster/fence and makes a deal to rip off the family he's working for by hitting their safe that night.
He breaks in easy and is all set to rob the family blind when he hears a chilling noise (in this case a creaky step)that tells him he's not alone. A quick scout around the house helps Arkin determine that something is very wrong. First there is the fact that the home contains way too many traps. We're not talking roach motels either as these traps include razors under the windows, trip wires galore, and enough bear traps in the dining room to discourage midnight snackers. The revelations continue as Arkin soon determines the family never left and are now hosting the houseguest from hell.
The Collector is in the "hizzie "and he means to get samples of every family member for his growing collection f trophies while converting their home into a house only Houdini could love. The real dilemma here is whether the crook that came to rob the house will man-up and save the day or will he slink away into the night and rescue his own family from a midnight rendezvous with some leg breakers. If you want the answer to that question and love horror movies then you're in for a treat here.
This one delivers on the suspense front but it also doesn't skimp on the red stuff. There is gore aplenty here so the squeamish are warned to avoid this effort at all costs. Horror lovers will get their money's worthwhile enjoying a visceral story that doesn't stretch credibility as much as your franchise horror flicks.
Best Line: "I'm not doing it on my front porch."

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail and to read to children every Wednesday at 10:30am at Borders in Hagerstown. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: