Horror Film Review: The Collector (dir by Marcus Dunstan)

There are a few horror films that I dislike as much as I dislike 2009’s The Collector.

I guess that should be considered fair warning about how this review is going to go.

I’ve only watched this movie two times and, both times, it was as a part of a live tweet group.  The first time that I watched it, I absolutely hated it because I found it to be incredibly mean-spirited and lacking in any sort of wit.  It just felt like a rip-off of the Saw movies, with a bit of Hostel tossed in.  I felt that it was the least imaginative torture show that I had ever watched,

The second time I watched, I know what was coming so my reaction was not quite as viscerally negative as the first time.  I still didn’t like the film but I could at least see that there was some craft involved in the making of the film and there were even a few hints of wit at the start of the film.  I could even respect the fact that the film stayed true to its dark worldview.  The Collector was a truly creepy character, even if his motivations and his techniques made absolutely no sense.

That said, I simply cannot get beyond the death of the cat.

A cat is killed in the film and it’s such a gratuitous and mean-spirited scene that I simply cannot look past it.  There was absolutely no reason to kill the cat, beyond wanting to show off that this film was so hardcore that it was even willing to kill cute pets.  The way the cat died was sadistic.  It was unnecessary and the scene went on forever.  Sorry, The Collector.  You lost me.

What’s interesting, though, is that it’s not just the cat that dies in the film.  At least seven or eight people die over the course of this film.  Of the two main, non-villainous characters who are still alive at the end of the film, one only has a future of physical and mental torture to look forward to while the other is going to be psychologically scarred for the rest of their lives.  And yet, none of the human death and suffering bothered me as much as the death of the cat.  I guess some of that is because the humans were played by recognizable actors and I’ve seen enough behind-the-scenes documentaries to know how all of the gore effects are done.  I didn’t particularly enjoy the many scenes of people being tortured but I knew they weren’t really being tortured and that everyone was getting paid.  Of course, it also helped that none of the human characters were particularly likable or interesting.  The cat, meanwhile, was just an innocent house pet who was killed for absolutely no reason.

And yes, I know they didn’t kill a real cat.  Still, it was way too graphic and drawn-out for me.

So, maybe I just don’t like seeing animals suffer in horror movies.  But it really didn’t bother me when an attacking dog was killed towards the end of the film so maybe I just like cats.

Anyway, I didn’t like The Collector.

One response to “Horror Film Review: The Collector (dir by Marcus Dunstan)

  1. Great piece as always, Lisa! 🙂 I liked The Collector for the spider/fly caught in a web references and it partially counts as a heist, but I can’t disagree with anything you’ve written here. My cousin (who put me on to the film and owns cats herself) argued that any sensible cat would gone from the books to the bed to get out of that room. That cat was put in that situation, which was incredibly mean & rude. Since then, the first question she asks about when I mention a movie is “Any animal deaths?”. She completely disowns Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom for a similar reason. I think there’s a site that tracks if animals are hurt/killed in movies.


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