“The Collector”, there’s a thief in your home, unfortunately for you the psychotic murderer was there first. It came as no surprise to find that director Marcus Dunstan worked on multiple “Saw” projects as a writer, “The Collector” wreaked of similarity. The premise is that there’s a maniac who likes to set traps in your home and his only pleasure is to watch you suffer. The one difference between the two films is that there’s no purported philosophy behind “The Collector”, no greater good being done to open the eyes of the victim.
Why you’ll like this:
If you like “Saw”; good suspense; creative traps/settings; visual style
Using a flashy visual style that reminded me of Tony Scott’s “Man on Fire”, the film does a great job of creating a lot of suspense by not being too up front about the scenario you’re walking into, instead it unfolds exactly as the protagonist sees it and you’re never away from him (Arkin, played by Josh Stewart) for even a moment. So, from the moment he knows someone else is in the house to the time you see him suffer the first booby trap you’re stuck in this silent inescapable terror. The suspense is by far the best part executed, and everything is shot so you’re never at a loss for what is happening. Too often, in fact, you’re a little too informed visually when it comes time to start chopping limbs off. Let the squirming begin!
I would like to say the acting is flagrantly poor here, but it’s hard to entirely blame the actors for poorly written scenes and dialogue. The reality is that the story is merely a crutch to get to the meat, which is the gore and suspense. It’s hard for me to accept such blatant abuse of story, but more than that I was fairly shocked at the low level of audio quality. At some points you have one actor mic’d up while another sounds like they’re in a tunnel. The opening scene is the perfect example and it nearly lost me, but luckily the heart of the film comes quick and delivers the goods.
Maybe another failing in “The Collector” is that I wasn’t necessarily afraid of the maniac so much as the unknown snares and devices he placed throughout the house. The Collector himself seemed rather normal and somewhat clueless in light of how long Arkin was able to run around the house undetected. The sheer amount of plot holes and ridiculous story devices made me wonder why the movie didn’t just cut off the first 20 minutes entirely and start with the burgler’s break-in. There’s no real need to build in artificial characters here, we’ll side with the victims at the first sign of blood, it’s human nature and now you’ve insulted my intelligence with bad character development.
Why you won’t like “The Collector”:
Poor acting/dialogue; bad audio quality
I was surprised by some of the lower qualities the movie gave me, particularly the audio since this appeared to be a bigger budget film based on advertising. But A) when has advertising ever been honest? And B) I knew it was a horror film so what should I really have expected? This centers around a high concept: a thief breaks in and finds a murderer is out for human trophies. If what you’re wanting from this is suspense and a few thrills, I’m sure you’ll get it, but check your brain at the door first, lest it too is collected.
2.5 out of 5 stars.
Starring: Josh Stewart, Michael Reilly Burke, Andrea Roth
Director: Marcus Dunstan
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Release Date: July 31, 2009