The Collector (2009)

This is an interesting little flick; there’s absolutely nothing original going on here but it has such great energy that you get sucked in and will have a really good time.  This is a great example of a “leave your brain at the door” flicks.  Just sit back and enjoy.

The Collector is written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan (the latter of which also directed) of the Saw franchise.  They both wrote the screenplay for Saw 4-6, and the upcoming 7, and you know it immediately.  In fact before the opening credits were over I was getting nervous thinking I got suckered into watching a Saw film.  Frequent readers of my reviews will know that for various reasons I’m not a fan of the Saw franchise.  But as luck would have it Dunstan and Melton also wrote all three movies in the best guilty-pleasure trilogy ever:  Feast.  That’s right; these are the guys responsible for the excessive and graphic nudity and gore in the Feast trilogy.  And is it surprising?  The Feast flicks are fun, mindless, gory blood baths that you can’t help liking — the same kind of energy and balls-to-the-wall violence found in The Collector.

Actor Josh Stewart is in for a long, bloody night

This one stars Josh Stewart as Arkin, a down on his luck ex-con who has agreed to break into his employer’s home to help pay off his debt.  But what he doesn’t know is that the Collector has also targeted the house and plans on doing a lot more than just robbing it; he’s rigged the entire house with various deadly traps (traps suspiciously like ones you might see in a Saw movie).  Yes it’s a fucking ridiculous plot.  The amount of traps he rigs in the huge house would have taken days to complete.  And let’s not even mention that in order to have rigged such elaborate traps he would’ve had to subdue the family members in the house thereby making the traps superfluous.  But let’s not dissect this movie (remember; leave your brain at the door).  Once Arkin is inside the house and realizes he’s not alone, he starts setting off the traps and this is where the real fun begins.

Oops; wrong Collector!!

Arkin comes across the family members in various states of torture.  He tries his best to help them, but it seems that everyone he attempts to help ends up getting fucked up worse than if Arkin would have left them alone.  And I can’t remember the last time a protagonist gets so fucked up in a movie!!  Arkin goes through some serious shit trying to get outta the house and its death traps.  He’s bound up with fishing hooks; has a window lined with razor blades slam down on his hands; has some teeth forcefully extracted; and is cut open and had large beetles forced into the wounds (for an especially cringe-inducing scene).

Part of what makes this flick work is actor Josh Stewart himself.  He’s a very likable character who may be in the house for the wrong reasons, but stays for the right reasons.  At one point he gets out of the house, and as he’s running off he looks over his shoulder and sees the young daughter still in the upstairs bedroom.  This scene was well shot and director Dunstan does a nice job using the Collector’s silhouette to creepy effect.  The actor playing the Collector (Juan Fernández) does a nice job as well.  He’s an imposing figure, has a kick ass mask, and doesn’t say a word the entire flick.

Actress Madeline Zima

The only other cast member worth noting is Madeline Zima.  You might remember her as the youngest daughter on the TV show The Nanny (1993-1999).  Here she’s all grown up and proudly shows off her titties before meeting a gruesome death. (On a side note; there’s something unsettling and creepy about seeing Zima.  She was like 10 years old on The Nanny and now we’re seeing her naked.  I feel like a dirty old man!!).

The night doesn’t end well for him …

But despite decent performances by the cast what really makes this one fun is the gore — and there’s a lot of it folks (way more than what’s in the Saw flicks).  Most of the gore comes from the traps:  some of them are simple (nails sticking up on the stair case); some are more complex (the acid-like gluey substance coating one of the bedroom floors); and most of them are simply fucking brutal.  The entire living room floor is covered with open bear traps and one of the bedrooms is filled with dangling fishing hooks suspended from the ceiling at random heights.  Zima’s boyfriend (Alex Feldman) meets perhaps the most brutal death ever as about 20 bear traps snap shut all over his body after he falls into the living room.

… or for her either!!

It’s pretty obvious the filmmakers are setting up The Collector to be both a new horror franchise and icon (time will tell), but the writers didn’t give us enough about the killer to really pique our interest.  He’s just a silent killer who’s REALLY good at setting traps (my buddy Brian said this should be called The Booby Trapper instead of The Collector).  And I’m still unclear as to what exactly he was collecting.  We’re told that he “collects the people he wants and kills the ones he doesn’t want,” but it sure as fuck seemed he was just killing everyone!!  That’s not a complaint; I’m just saying.

That box is the closest thing we get to a “collection”!!

Yes there are a ton of plot holes and the entire idea is just silly.  Before the Collector realizes Arkin is in the house with him this has a Diehard meets Saw feel to it as Arkin runs around the big house avoiding him and trying to rescue the family members.  Other things you’ll wonder about:  If the house is in the middle of nowhere (which we’re told it is on numerous occasions), then why do the cops show up all the sudden?  Do you really think the killer would fall for the “mirror trick” towards the end?  How does Arkin not pass out from a loss of blood by the end of the movie?  And, I must ask again, what the fuck is the killer “collecting”?  But you’re gonna wanna ignore the rational voice in your head for this one.  Once you realize and accept this flick for what it is you’re gonna have a really good time.  It’s fast-paced, fun, and gory as fuck; what else do you need?  Check this one out.

My Summary:

Director: Marcus Dunstan (and wrote screenplay with Patrick Melton)

Plot:  4 out of 5 stars

Gore:  8 out of 10 skulls

Zombie Mayhem:  0 out of 5 brains

Reviewed by Scott Shoyer

16 Responses to “The Collector (2009)”
  1. autumnforest says:

    You know, I saw Zima on an episosde of “Californication” naked riding David Duchovny (twice her age at least). That was disturbing. Apparently, her criteria for parts has changed… Thanks for the review of the movie. Sounds kind of interesting. I hadn’t heard of it. I just saw a trailer for a horrible upcoming movie that’s so disturbing I wish I could erase my brain “The Human Caterpillar” Check it out online–yikes!


    • I’ve been following Human Centipede for a while now…. Can’t wait for it!! It looks like a cross between a Cronenberg and a Lynch flick. I hope it’s as disturbing as I think it’s gonna be. I’m trying to track down a screener copy… if I score one I’ll definitely be reviewing it ASAP!!!

      Zima riding Duchovny…. blech!! I still think of her as cute little Grace from The Nanny!!! It feels creepy on my part to see her naked & screwing!!! LOL


  2. Demian says:

    Cool I will check out the collector, it looked like a saw rip off from the trailer. The human centipede does look disturbing which makes me want to see it even more.

    I just recently saw I sell the dead. It was just ok. Great cinematography, ok story, great acting. I just didn’t get the humor, although there were some funny parts. I was wanting army of darkness humor and got a black comedy.

    I feel that maybe I need another viewing to appreciate it more because I was expecting something different.


    • Don’t get me wrong; The Collector is indeed a Saw rip-off, but I enjoyed it a lot more than a Saw flick (I actually hate the Saw flicks). But its a bloody fun time.

      I’ve heard that about I Sell the Dead …. haven’t gotten around to seeing it yet myself. I think I’m gonna wait to hear what you think about it after your 2nd viewing. Gonna let someone else take a bullet this time LOL

      I’m trying like a bastard to get a screener of Human Centipede….. proving very difficult. I’ll let you know.


    • Ifaz says:

      Demian, that’s how I first reacted. Because I was expecting something more brutal. But ended up loving it for the ‘dark humour’. And yes, Ron Perlman and Dominic Monaghan was great. A little light on the gore but disturbing enough(I wont forget that throat slashing). With vampire and zombies in one movie which aren’t even the villains.


  3. mr. reynolds says:

    ” But you’re gonna wanna ignore the rational voice in your head for this one. ” – that’s key. I didn’t really enjoy it all – one critic said it was ‘cooked up by a clever 14-year-old devotee of’ – but I can see its general appeal to many out there. And I never watched the Nanny so my only image of Zima is Californication. It’s a nice image.


    • There’s no doubt that The Collector is a contrived and silly movie, but I think the lead actor and the gore makes this one pretty fun. It has a fun kinda energy and is a good one to watch when your buddies are over!!


  4. eazy says:

    i need to watch it been sitting here for months now


  5. deggsy says:

    I’m just finishing watching this with my lady Daisy, and thought that this could have been a superior suspenseful film in its own right, without the graphic violence. Not that I’m averse to such things, but thought the movie could have been more successful and reached a wider audience ala SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (which barely showed anything graphic) had it not tried to emulate SAW and the rest of the torture porn genre. Otherwise, totally agree with you about its strengths and weaknesses


    • You’re right, Deggsy … THE COLLECTOR totally works as a suspense-thriller, but being familiar with the past work of the writers will tell you immediately that there was gonna be a lot of blood!! The writers here ate the same from the FEAST trilogy, a few SAW flicks, & the recent PIRANHA 3DD!!


Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] as much as 2009’s THE COLLECTOR.  I found it extremely fun and refreshingly gory (see my review here).  For a while now there’s been talk about a sequel and it looks like its gonna happen.  […]


  2. […] (my reviews here & here) and the writing team who gave us SAWS 4-7 and THE COLLECTOR (my review here). So yeah; I’m really looking forward to PIRANHA 3DD and seeing how much more titties and […]


  3. […] funnest horror films in recent years. Melton and Dunstan are the writers of the FEAST trilogy, THE COLLECTOR, THE COLLECTION, PIRANHA 3DD, and of course the SAW films five through […]


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