Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan
William Prael, Diane Ayala Goldner, Juan Vernandez, Josh Stewart, Michael Reilly Burke, Andrea Roth, Karley Scott Collins, Madeline Zima, Haley Pullos, Daniella Alonso, Patrick Rizzotti
The slasher genre hasn’t had sufficient representation in the last couple of decades, having been relegated to the back-burner in favor of supernatural or religious horror flicks like Paranormal Activity or The Conjuring or unique premises like The Quiet Place or The Witch. The need for a new type of serial slaughterer of young innocents is palpable, but the end result of The Collector is a villain with creativity, but no depth.
The Collector sets elaborate traps in the houses he infiltrates, taking prisoner the owners of the home and putting them through gruesome and grotesque tortures. Head encased in a leather hood, the Collector isn’t given any backstory or motives for his horrific pursuits. It makes for a villain that we don’t care much about, unlike the similarly crafty antagonist of the Saw films. The hero of the story (Josh Stewart) is an ex-con hoping to steal an expensive gem from the house he’s been casing and must accelerate the timeline to save his ex-wife from a dangerous fate. Once he discovers that there is no way out, he must pit his wits against the evil Collector in order to secure escape for himself and the little girl who lives in the house.
A strange, bloody horror flick, The Collector is built on the worst tropes of the genre and frequently fails to enliven the material enough to engage the audience. The graphic nature of the film is emboldened at times by quick cuts and spurts of blood to cover up the sometimes cheesy effects. At times, the effects are as bad as those one might have seen in the campiest ’80s horror flicks, but thirty-years removed, the industry offers far too many new options to allow for the revival of such antiquated techniques. No one appreciates a creative jump-scare more than the biggest horror fans, but relying on out-of-date methods to power a modern picture requires a great deal of care, attention to detail, and appreciation of all that came before it and this film does not get very close to that ideal at all.
For horror fans hoping to find a new slasher to engage with, The Collector is not likely the answer. There are some interesting traps on display and the ending is frustrating, but engaging in how it turns genre conventions on their heads, but the question is whether subsequent films (and there is a sequel to this film) will be able to take the premise in a new and more compelling direction or if it will continue down the dark, cruel, and unimpressive track it has so far taken.
February 15, 2021