A drug dealer accepts an unusual help for his troubles in this fantastic new horror short from the creator of the viral hit “The Flying Man”.
A selection of Short of the Week, the web’s leading curators of quality short films.
Written & Directed by Marcus Alqueres
Loyal followers of our site know that we’re horror-skeptics. We pack most of them into the schedule around Halloween and tend to forget the genre for the rest of the year. As the head of our programming team that is mostly my fault—I just don’t respond that well to the 4min jump-scare pieces that dominate the short form! Good horror to me is more existential than a monster in the closet, and the dread that I find delicious requires time and stakes and, ideally, characters I care about. My advice to creators within the genre is, can you just make your films a bit less…generic? Given the overwhelming heat of horror in film and television at the moment, I suppose I’m the baddie here, but I think it would be nice to try and make films that, y’know, work as films first and foremost.
That’s what The Collector does, a new, creepy 10-minute film from Marcus Alqueres that engaged me from the start and established a tone, setting, and characters that I invested in long before it takes its twisted turn. Designed by the professional VFX-veteran as an experiment in a more naturalistic directing style, Alqueres’ vision with this film was to “introduce an unexpected supernatural element into a rather conventional drama, resulting in an unpredictable turn of events.”
Pepe is a run-of-the-mill, overworked drug dealer. Locked up in his modest apartment, he’s busy packaging up his product when Julie, a sassy, attractive client stops by. She offers to do his work for him as long as she gets a small cut and Pepe begrudgingly accepts the help. It’s an opportunity to rest, but also to look over his bed-ridden father in the next room over. When Julie fucks up (as drug addicts in films are liable to do) Pepe is placed in a jam. Does a mysterious business card for a legendary “fixer” hold the answer to his predicament? Maybe, but Pepe doesn’t have a clue about the true cost of this help.
The Collector is a triumph of low-budget efficiency: a single set, a couple of LED panels, and a smoke machine. Yet its grungy flophouse set design and gritty cinematography provide a perfect sense of the place and characters. Pepe (Stefano Capuzzi Lapietra) is not a revelatory creation, but I found his workaday, no-nonsense approach to business endearing. The way he pushes Julie’s flirtations aside give insight into his character, but the way he does it, and importantly, his interactions with his father, serve to unmask the gruffness and reveal a sensitivity underneath. Julie (Nathália Boga) similarly does not represent a high-water mark for nuanced depictions of women on screen, and yet she is a delight—intensely charismatic, her inherent mischievousness is clear from the start but sucks you in, and you feel legitimate concern regarding her fate.
Alqueres is not a stranger to our site, having been featured in 2013 for his dark superhero story The Flying Man. A massive hit at the time, the film has achieved over 25M views online in the years since and landed the Brazilian filmmaker a deal at Sony Pictures in 2015. The project subsequently stalled though, and the similarities in premise to the 2019 film Brightburn, have dampened our hopes of a feature or series version.” – S/W Curator Jason Sondhi
Pepe: STEFANO CAPUZZI LAPIETRA
Julie: NATHÁLIA BOGA
Dad: PLÍNIO SOARES
Director of Photography: MARCUS ALQUERES
“A” Camera Operator: MARCO TÚLIO GUGLIELMONI
“B” Camera Operator: FILIPPO CAPUZZI LAPIETRA
First Assistant Camera: PETERSON LOMOVTOV
Second Assistant Camera: RAQUEL BALBINO
Gaffer: WALÉRIO ROSA
Sound Recordist MARCIO FARAH
Casting Preparation SERGIO PENNA
Editor MARCUS ALQUERES
Sound Post Production Provided by PUNCH AUDIO
Supervising Sound Designer: CRISTIANO PINHEIRO
Sound Editing and Design: MATEUS POLATI
Dialogue Editor: JIMMY GRESSLER
SFX Editor: HENRIQUE OLIVEIRA
Foley Assistant: RICARDO AUGUSTO SILVA
SFX Producer: LILI D. ARAGONI & GABRIELA TAKAN
Coordination: CRISTIANE OLIVEIRA & CAROL OLIVEIRA
VFX Artist and Colorist: MARCUS ALQUERES
Music Licensed from: ARTLIST
Going Wild – Alon Ohana . The Summoning – Kyle Preston . Interlude for a Broken Mind – Neon Ridge
Additional Music: Advent Chamber Orchestra – Bach – Brandenburg Concerto no3 mvt3 allegro