Arkin is an ex-con who has been hired to do some construction work at a house. To repay debts that his wife owes to a loan shark, he must break in to steal a valuable jewel at his new employer’s house by midnight. When he returns that night he finds another man is at the property and has rigged with it with various deadly traps.
I had never heard of this film before and so had no clue what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. It started off rather bland, with only Arkin’s character being of any interest. When he arrives at the house, however, it is one intense ride. I was on the edge of my seat through most of it and I especially enjoyed the scenes of Arkin silently sneaking about. I loved that the ‘villain’ was also unaware of the ‘hero’ for the most part. The basement scenes were nice for gore, but I wasn’t a fan of the stylistic choices. The slow motion shots of Arkin running up the stairs got very annoying as well. I was also impressed with the cat scene. I usually dislike those as I find them difficult to watch and annoyingly exploitative, but it was done really well. It was still hard to watch and made me cringe, but films rarely have that affect on me, so I count it as as good thing.
I was disappointed with the development of the Collector character, as well as the film opting for a seemingly taped on Hollywood ending for the last 25 minutes. They were still alright, but there were a number of paths it could’ve taken to avoid the usual horror film cliches and safe choices and it didn’t (also leaving it open for a sequel, which I hate). The Collector character was creepy and mysterious to begin with, but then was shown a little too much and we’re not given enough information about him. The ‘collecting’ seemed like a late addition and didn’t really make sense. We’re just told ‘he collects people’ and that’s it. It never develops that idea far enough to make it interesting.
People who label any film with a drop of blood as ‘gratuitous torture porn’ should avoid it. There is a nice amount of gore, but it is used properly, as well as the rest of the film creating some amazing tension. There are a lot of plot holes, realism flaws etc, but they were easy to look past due to the intense atmosphere created – and it’s very difficult to find horror films that create this kind of atmosphere (and have good gore to boot!).