Director – Marcus Dunstan
Cast – Josh Stewart, Madeline Zima, Andrea Roth, Daniella Alonso, Juan Fernandez, Robert Wisdom, Diana Ayala Goldner, Haley Pullos, Karley Scott Collins
Release Year – 2009
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Being a fan of the more recent Saw films(Saw IV and Saw VI) written by writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, and my absolute favorite of theirs and one of my favorite horror films of all time, Feast, I knew I had to check this film out when I learned it was written by the same gruesome duo. To add to this, this film also marks the directorial debut of Marcus Dunstan, making this a true creative experience from these two gorehounds. After viewing this flick it showed that these two writers have a future in the horror realm outside of the Saw franchise and have the ability to give us great horror in an era where great horror never hits the silver screen.
The Collector stars Josh Stewart as “Arkin”, a low-level contractor who has until midnight to meet the monetary demands of the loan sharks that are coming after his wife and daughter. He decides to rob the safe in his new employer’s home, but this proves to be a very bad idea. Little does Arkin know, another intruder has already set his sights on the house, and rigged it with many deadly traps and devices. Arkin the intruder has now turned into Arkin the victim, and must find a way to escape this crafty and agile psychopath. However, before he can escape he decides to help the family being held captive by The Collector, a decision that may turn this intruder-turned-victim into a hero, or could seal his fate.
Right from the get-go this film grasped my interest with it’s awesome intro and never really let up the entire way through. The storyline to me was an interesting one, one that I enjoyed because it gave us a very unique and awesome looking antagonist, something we really need in the horror realm these days. The elaborate traps that were set up did have a bit of a Saw feel to them, but hell, that is just the way these two writers work. Can you blame them? I sure won’t…because it works! The traps set up on every corner of the house really upped the tension in this flick, with it’s dark and gloomy atmosphere only aiding in that area. I was impressed with Marcus Dunstan’s direction in this film. For a first time director he did a pretty fine job. The tension is there, and it comes in hard. What more could you ask for? Seriously.
I can honestly see this franchise turning into a trilogy, or at least giving us a sequel sometime in the future. The Collector was epic in his work, with his true intentions never fully revealed, which just bleeds “sequel” along with the film’s very dark and open-ended climax. We are also left with a few unanswered questions regarding Arkin’s perception of The Collector, which you may or may not like but it sure does add to the need for a sequel if you are as curious as I am. Regardless, The Collector is an awesome antagonist that I would love to see grace the screen once again.
There is not much I did not enjoy about this film, although I really wish we could have had more characters thrown into the mix. Aside from Arkin, we do not get many other characters thrown in aside from those already being tortured when he enters the home. This may just be something I personally had a small problem with, and not something to detriment this film in any way.
Overall, this is an awesome flick that I recommend to fans of good gory horror with an awesome villain and an elaborate setup. If you are looking for one of the better horror films of the decade then give this slightly underrated gem a shot.