What a piece of sh*t.
That’s the short, abbreviated version of my review for The Collector, the directorial debut of Feast I-III/Saw IV-VI writer Marcus Dunstan, who co-wrote this film with his scriptwriting collaborator Patrick Melton.
I’ve read all over the net on how great this film is and how Dunstan is a fan made good and how he’s the “real deal.” I have no dislike of Dunstan as a person – his and Melton’s Cinderella story (they won Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s Project Greenlight) is truly something great, and I mean no harm or try to take anything away from them. F east was an excellent time which, I felt, had nothing to do with their script and entirely to do with the director, John Gulager. Turns out, after watching Feast 2 and 3, they’re all kind of lacking in the talent department.
More harshness after the jump.
SPOILERS ON, by the way…
So, in The Collector, handyman guy Arkin (Josh Stewart) is working for a rich family and, unbenkownst to them, scoping out their house to later rob them. See, his wife is on the hook with some loan sharks, and she has until midnight to pay. After a hard day at work at this rich family’s house, he buys his daughter a teddy bear, visits with his wife, then comes back to steal the money in their safe. Unfortunately, in the short time that he’s been gone, a serial killer has…
- added four more locks to the back door,
- set up fish wire-triggered traps that launch their victims into the air and might even shoot nails into them,
- covered one room entirely in acid glue
- covered another room with bear traps
- boarded up all the windows (with razors between the boards)
- set up a torture chamber, including a torture chair and bathtub contraption, and
- set up a knife-laced chandelier
…and that’s the first problem with The Collector. How absolutely preposterous it is. We’re supposed to believe the Collector set up all this in, at maximum, four hours? Once Arkin breaks back into the house, the film switches to almost a 24-esque real time suspense film, yet constantly disregards it. In one scene, the Collector grabs a girl and slams her up against the stairs – literally two seconds later, he’s tied her up with razor wire around her neck and hands. Seriously? How do they expect believe to believe this?
The film defies logic and, perhaps even more insultingly, is written in such a way that you begin the think the writers feel they’re smarter than you. You never find out why the Collector does what he does or who he is. I’m all for ambiguity as a way of making things scarier, but the Collector is never given any kind of character to even make him scarier – he acts like the Pulp Fiction gimp, but he’s obviously smart enough to rig a house to explode, in addition to all the things I mentioned earlier, in a matter of hours. The film is FILLED with this flawed logic – so much so that it ends up being laughably preposterous by the halfway point, as if two 14-year olds sat in a room saying things like, “You know what would be cool? Acid glue! oh, oh, oh…and if there was a cat who got stuck in it, then got cut in half by a guillotine!”
Dunstan is definitely informed by the directing style of the Saw franchise – the film looks and feels like another Saw film. In fact, the script was originally written as a prequel to Saw, and I can’t help feel that, as Saw VI or VII, I might be more forgiving of its awfulness. However, in trying to pass itself off as something good and original, it ends up being neither.
Avoid it at all costs, despite what some of the other sites may tell you! I left this film not just disappointed, but actually angry at it for wasting an hour and a half of my lie.