I thought I knew what to expect from The Collector. It looked the the usual guy in the basement with a mask torturing people with household implements film. Turns out I was wrong.
From the opening credits you can tell that this film has a style of its own. It reminded me of watching the opening credits of Ginger Snaps - that moment of revelation when you realise that what you thought was a typical straight-to-DVD horror film might actually be better than that. But while The Collector is brilliantly shot and directed, what really makes it work is the writing.
There are two things that make it great.
1) The main character is very well written. The film takes its time getting into the main story, so we get to know the guy and we get to understand why we should care about him even though he's a thief. And for once we have a slasher film in which the protagonists aren't dumb teenagers.
2) The bad guy is smarter than everyone else. This is what really makes the suspense in the film work. The bad guy is always three steps ahead of the other characters in the film, meaning he's also three steps ahead of the audience.
It's a bit on the nasty side, and if it wasn't so intelligently written would definitely be dismissed as torture porn, but it's further proof of what good writing can do for a standard genre film and I really enjoyed it.