The Collector is the directorial début of Marcus Dunstan, one half of the writing duo behind Saw IV, V & VI. The film follows Arkin (Josh Stewart) an ex-con who desperately needs to pay of his debt to his ex-wife, so decides to rob the wealthy country home of his new employer. After breaking and entering it becomes clear that someone else has got there first and has rigged the property with a complex series of traps and devices to make sure that neither the imprisoned family or Arkin can escape. Arkin once in has to make the decision to either save himself or try and help the family he was about to rip-off. The plot is an original concept and surprisingly comes from two writers (director Marcus Dunstan and his Saw writing partner Patrick Melton) who have spent their last 3 films pushing the very formulaic love it/hate it ”torture porn” genre.
Despite the plots originality, the script leans more towards the standard horror rules Dunstan and Melton have played their part in creating and it often feels like scenes are included solely for the purpose of ticking boxes – the film’s main flaw. Dunstan gets caught up in a game of hot potato trying to juggle the genres tight restrictions and appease its bloodthirsty audience whilst simultaneously trying to inject his unique twist on the relatively new “House Invasion” horror sub genre. The film’s strength is the atmosphere Dunstan creates with his use of space and the excellent soundtrack which rises and falls perfectly to immerse the viewer in the film’s gory visuals and the emotional turmoil of both the main character and the captured family members.
At the end of the day The Collector features an insane murderer in a mask killing innocent people in various inventive ways – like many other films that have been and will come. If you like horror films you will love this, if you dont – you could do a lot worse as the films obvious strengths outweigh its flaws. It’s an original film in an often stale genre and I can already feel a sequel brewing.
You can find out more about The Collector here, or check out the trailer below.