There’s something more intriguing about a horror film made in another country that creates a bit of the nightmare out of the culture and history of that foreign land. There’s enough films that get shot in certain countries because of a budget subsides or cheaper production value. Or even films shot in a foreign land that seem intent on scoring a major Hollywood studio remake. When you watch a film that comes from a foreign you want to feel the horror rise up from the soil. This is exactly what Soul Collector delivers. This brings the scares from the countryside of South Africa that wouldn’t seem right in Toronto.
Things aren’t going good for William Ziel (Black Sails‘ Garth Breytenbach). His brother and wife have died and he’s taking care of their daughter Mary (Keita Luna). He’s gone bankrupt. His father has died and left him a farm in deep countryside. His wife Sarah (The Dark Tower‘s Inge Beckmann) isn’t happy being stuck in a house so remote that the electricity comes from a diesel generator that refuses to start when they arrive. The only thing going right for them is when Lazarus (Empire of the Sharks‘ Tshamano Sebe) unexpectedly arrives. He’s found Mary who has roamed away from the house. He was helping William’s dad before his death, although William has no clue how much of a help Lazarus was. Sarah is a bit disturbed by Lazarus being around even though he does get the generator cranking so she’s not stuck in the dark. She’s not the only one who isn’t thrilled by Lazarus being around. The other locals refer to Lazarus as a demon since they remember the night the guy made a deal with a supernatural power when things went wrong at his house. Sarah is a bit fearful of the locals that comes from a sense that they might harbor resentment from the days of apartheid. Everyone wants to know what Lazarus is hauling around in his old leather sack.
The Soul Collector is an isolated horror film with very few characters roaming the remote location. Pretty much everyone on camera plays a major role as the mystery and the nightmare evolves. There’s very few extras that just fill out the frame. The remote nature heightens action since nobody can disappear without everyone feeling it. Writer-Director Harold Holscher (Die Staat se Bul) gives a story that gives us a bit of a scare that is rooted in the South African and people you’d encounter there. The film does go into subtitles when certain characters speak Tswana. Tshamano Sebe delves deep into a father who made a really bad deal when he prayed for what turned out to be the wrong thing. The effects are extremely creepy as souls are collected on screen and we get to see what’s inside Lazarus’s satchel. There’s plenty of tension during the 99 minutes. The end twist works. The Soul Collector is a fine way to get an international fright on a hot summer night.
The movie originally played horror festivals last summer as 8. Turns out there’s already an 8 titled film along with a lot of films that start with 8. So Shout! Studios wisely changed the titled to Soul Collector. Soul Collector is available for VOD starting June 12.
Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.