The Collector – Review

Been there, done that

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Director: Marcus Dunstan
Notable Cast:
Josh Stewart, Madeline Zima, Juan Fernandez, Michael Reilly Burke

Arkin (Josh Stewart) is pressed up against the proverbial wall. His wife (Daniella Alonso) is up to her neck in debt to loan sharks, threatening to flee the city or else have her lack of payment be repaid with physical harm to her and their daughter. A locksmith, Arkin breaks into the home of a family whose house he’s just installed locks on. They’re supposed to be out of town on vacation, giving him free and clear access to the house’s safe. What he doesn’t know is that a mysterious Collector (Juan Fernandez) has installed traps all throughout the house to prevent the family (who are still there) from escaping. He’s left with a dilemma: does he stay and try to help, or does he flee to save his own life?

That’s the plot of The Collector, the latest “torture porn” style film in the vein of the Saw franchise. And if the film feels like it’s ripping off the Saw franchise then it’s fairly accurate because The Collector was originally developed as a prequel to the popular Halloween franchise. And Marcus Dunstan, who had a hand in scripting the film, plays the film as if it were another film in that particular franchise.

From the camerawork to the attention to the atmosphere, to even some of the mayhem, is styled right out of the Saw franchise. While Dunstan steps much of it up a notch so that it is a bit of a step up in horror violence, it’s hard not to think that one’s seen most of this already. It’s a detriment because while it can get pretty gruesome at times, one can substitute Jigsaw (or any other villain from the genre) for The Collector and not miss a step in the film. There’s nothing truly unique about the character that makes him something of a franchise character.

For the most part he looks like a bad pro wrestling villain who has had the proper fortune of having laid out some rather impressive traps. It is a nice trait that Dunstan leaves much to the imagination with him, though. With no back story, and little in the way of actually showing him, the Collector character is given the Michael Myers treatment in that Dunstan doesn’t give up much about him for a huge portion of the film. It gives him a bit of a menace factor and makes him scary, but the problem is that during the reveal the character doesn’t have that much menace or scare factor. It is a bit of a letdown to say the least.

The Collector is another in the long line of “torture porn” films and doesn’t have much of a distinction to it. While it has some impressive horror violence, and has an intense atmosphere, it is nothing more than another clone of the Saw franchise with less spunk to it.