Movies: The Collector * *
(18, general release)
When I tell you that The Collector is directed and co-written by one Marcus Dunstan, whose credits also include several of the Saw films, you should get a pretty good idea of what kind of nastiness to expect.
Originally conceived as a prequel to the Saw films, The Collector involves a home invasion of the most unpleasant kind.
Josh Stewart stars as Arkin, a handyman who's working on the refurbishment of a wealthy couple's home.
But Arkin is also a petty criminal and safe-breaker who's desperate to earn some money, and when he finds out that Larry and Gena Wharton are going off on a holiday, he sneaks back into the house that night to rifle their safe.
He's just going about his business when he hears low moans rising through the air vents from the basement. When he goes down to investigate he finds Mr Wharton chained up and horribly beaten, and Mrs Wharton bound and terrified in a bathtub. Before he can free them a man in a leather mask returns from upstairs to resume his grisly work. This is the Collector, a relentless maniac who takes people for his own amusement, and quickly dispenses with those who don't interest him.
Arkin manages to sneak out of the basement unnoticed, but finds the house booby-trapped in ways that would affront the brains behind the Spanish Inquisition.
He also faces a moral dilemma when he finds that the Wharton's young daughter is loose and terrified somewhere about the house.
And that's about it really: as Arkin and the idiot in the gimp mask creep about playing cat and mouse, bear traps and hidden spikes leap forth to maim, gouge and eviscerate.
Dunstan handles it all reasonably efficiently, and throws in a couple of unlikely twists at the end. But there's nothing new or attractive on display here, and if this is your idea of a fun night out you're probably a borderline sociopath.