Robbery is bad. How do I know that? Because if you try to rob someone's house, you may just happen to stumble upon a serial killer who would like nothing more than to torture you until you're dead. That's the intriguing premise of The Collector, an indie horror flick about an ex-con, who, desperate for cash, decides to break into his employer's house, only to find that the family has been captured by a masked psychopath.
In what can best be described as Saw-meets-Home Alone, The Collector is an interesting mix of slasher flick and torture porn. The result is surprisingly entertaining, though it fails to offer anything new or remarkable to the table. Director Marcus Dunstan, who wrote Feast and every Saw sequel since Saw IV, does a fine job bridging the gap between the two horror genres. One problem with prior torture-focused films has been that they rarely offer any hope for the protagonist and at times, like in the Saw movies, don't have an adversary that shares significant screen time with the other actors. The Collector overcomes this by providing some gruesome traps, but within the confines of a slasher film. The result: The Collector is better, by far, than any of the Saw movies.
Nevertheless, there's nothing special about The Collector. As far as horror movies go, it's better than some, worse than others. Dunstan seems to enjoy showing the traps much more than evoking a true sense of terror; his picture is never bland, but it never leaves you on the edge of your seat. The killer isn't particularly interesting, either, a Michael rip-off with little presence. The film would have really benefited from a more sinister, more verbose antagonist who enjoys toying with his victims on a mental level as well as a physical one.
Despite the movie's pitfalls, The Collector is an enjoyable little horror movie that defies its seemingly miniscule budget. It doesn't break any new boundaries, but it has enough action and gore to keep horror fans entertained.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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