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7 Reasons to Go See ‘The Collector’

By  · Published on July 31st, 2009

Greetings, dear reader. I realize fully that I already championed The Collector in my review, but I truly stand behind this film and, as you may know, here at Reject HQ we tend to celebrate the movies we love. Perhaps it’s a small hope, shaking nervously in the corner, that some of you out there will take a chance and also find something to love.

To that end, I figured I’d enumerate a few reasons to take your chances (and your wallet) with (and to) the theater when this bad boy rolls into town today.

And here we….go:

7. Support Your Local Horror-Monger

I know, I know. “Buy American” has gone from being Patriotic to being myopically uncultured, but there’s still some honor in it. The Collector is a home-grown, original concept (not a remake, a rehash, or a re-imagining), and it’s certainly not stolen or borrowed from Japan, Korea or Norway. Not only is it genuinely good horror, for everyone out there bitching and moaning about how Hollywood is out of new ideas, here’s a chance to support a few filmmakers that have them.

6. The Calm Before

One of the things I admired most about the movie is the patience that the filmmakers had. Sure, it starts with a startling sequence, but then they only spill one drop of blood in the first act. They take their time. They build characters. It’s not a slow burn, and normally a lack of blood would be unthinkable in a horror film, but with the sheer amount of panic in the second act and the buckets that spill, it makes for a really great juxtaposition. Plus, it proves they don’t have to rely on the gore to create tension.

5. The Storm


When the blood does start spilling, it never disappoints. When dealing with a psychopath with no back story who never even utters a word throughout the film, it’s difficult to reason with him. He’s there to murder people, and murder them he does. The scenes are augmented by the moments of silence, the attempts not to get caught, and the introduction of even more characters with 10 pints of blood in them. The movie never pounds you over the head with horror, but when blood is let, it’s worth it.

4. Sex, Blood, and Rock & Roll

Perhaps this should be at the top of the list, even though I’m going in an arbitrary order anyway, considering that these are the main hallmarks of a great horror movie. Even with limited chances, The Collector still manages to get the shirt off of one beautiful young lady (Madeline Zima, who fans know from “Californication,” and in-context-creepier from “The Nanny). It also spills blood, as I’ve mentioned before, and has a killer sound track of songs from Korn, Bauhaus, Depeche Mode, as well as a fantastic original score from NIN drummer Jerome Dillon.

3. The Mix of Horror

People are getting tired of horror. Hell, people should be getting tired of horror. I love Freddy and Jason and Michael, but the bulk of horror hitting major theaters these days are either re-treads, franchise renewals, or mainstreamified, glossy versions of older horror. It’s all too Dawson’s Creek for me. The teenagers are CW stars or hot young things climbing the ladder through horror like the generation before them, and it all just seems the same. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the rise (and fall) of torture porn that took all of half a year. By taking a few cues from 1970s horror (what a great decade for it), writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton have blended scenes so that none of it becomes stale. There are a few traps (though nothing as elaborate and intense as Saw), a few moments with a tongue in a pair of pliers (there’s your torture), a few near misses, a few quick and dirty, a few Oh Shit fight moments, and a few chest-heaving, thick tension moments. Since it’s not two hours of the same kinds of death and viscera, it’s always engaging.

2. It’s Not Saw

This needs some clarifying, especially since I loved the first Saw. It’s no secret that director Marcus Dunstan and writer Patrick Melton are also the co-writers of Saw IV, Saw V, and the forthcoming Saw VI. There are also a few out there who will see this is as just another entry into the Saw franchise. Those people could not be further from correct. In fact, thinking that it’s even a close relative of Saw is pretty obtuse.

I get it. There’s traps. But that’s where the comparisons end. Where Saw is bloated with story, The Collector is lean without an inch of fat on it. Where Saw focuses on one style of brutal torture-death, The Collector has a lot more tricks up his sleeves. Where the cinematography of Saw is an unintelligible orgy of gymnastic cameras, The Collector is restrained and clean. The list of differences goes on and on. However, this film is just as good if not better than the first Saw – an independent film that spawned a sick amount of sequels. With any luck, we’ll see more from The Collector.

1. Those Who Know Horror, Love It

If you give a shit what mainstream critics think, it looks like this film is a Torture Porn flick with no soul. But it’s not. I may not write Coroner’s Report for the site, but I know my horror. I can pick out Bava from Argento in a line up, and I really dug this movie. So did a lot of horror fans:

Finally an American horror movie that is brutal without being a freak show. An American horror movie that is a legitimate throw back to an era gone by without having to yuck it up. An American horror movie that tortures people without devolving into torture porn. An American horror movie made outside of a major studio umbrella that doesn’t give a shit how small its budget may be, that doesn’t have to shortcut tough logistics with insert shots and cutaways,” Peter Hall from HorrorsNotDead gave it a B+.

Several shots, particularly in the opening sequence, took my breath away and as the film progresses it only gets better. What is best about how this film is built is that there is a very claustrophobic sense of tension that is instrumental in making sure this film is not merely trap after trap and kill after kill (although, from a gore lover’s perspective, there’s more than enough blood to keep you satisfied). From the lighting to the incredible music (provided by none other than Depeche Mode and Korn), there is so much here for a horror fan to revel in,” Kayley Viteo from BrutalAsHell gave it 4 out or 5.

In The Collector nothing is sacred, and while the violence serves the narrative without being superfluous (as edited by Alex Luna and James Mastracco, the action is a crisp and jarring), Dunstan clearly also realizes that which horror fans desire: a leap from their seats,” Sean from Dread Central gave it 4 out of 5.

There is real potential behind this film and Freestyle Releasing is doing such a great thing for horror fans by getting this into theaters. The could be just the beginning folks, you need to witness the birth of THE COLLECTOR in theaters this July or this potential icon will become just a myth…,” MrDisgusting from Bloody Disgusting gave it 7/10.

There’s an entire gang of critics behind this thing. People that love and respect horror.

I understand if you’re skeptical. The trailer didn’t knock my socks off, and with the sheer amount of crap horror coming out these days (and the marketing campaigns necessary to sell them), it would seem like The Collector is another schlock entry into a world already chock-full of boring shit.

It’s not. It’s genuinely good horror for horror fans. So if that’s you, I’d urge you to give it a shot.

Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector [email protected] | Writing short stories at Adventitious.