The Collector
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMarcus Dunstan
Screenplay by
Based on
The Midnight Man[a]
  • Patrick Melton
  • Marcus Dunstan
Produced by
  • Brett Forbes
  • Patrick Rizzotti
  • Julie Richardson
CinematographyBrandon Cox
Edited by
  • Alex Luna
  • James Mastracco
  • Howard Smith
Music byJerome Dillon
Distributed byFreestyle Releasing
Release date
  • July 31, 2009 (2009-07-31)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$3 million[2]
Box office$10.2 million[3]

The Collector is a 2009 American horror film written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, and directed by Dunstan.[4] It stars Josh Stewart, Michael Reilly Burke, Andrea Roth, Juan Fernandez, Karley Scott Collins, Madeline Zima, and Robert Wisdom. The film follows a man who, in order to pay a debt, decides to rob a house, only to find out somebody with far more sinister intentions has already broken in.

The original script, titled The Midnight Man, was at one point shopped as a spin-off prequel to the Saw franchise, as an origin story for the villain John Kramer / Jigsaw, but the producers opposed the idea and dismissed it, leading to the script getting reworked to an original story.[5][6]

The Collector was released on July 31, 2009, by Freestyle Releasing. It received generally negative reviews from critics, but was a moderate box office success, grossing $10.2 million against a $3 million budget. A sequel, The Collection, was released in 2012.


Married couple Larry and Gena Wharton return home and discover a large trunk upstairs, horrified by its contents. They are then attacked by an unseen assailant.

Former convict Arkin O'Brien works as a handyman for the Chase family. After work, he meets his wife, whose debt to loan sharks is due by midnight. To protect her and their daughter, Arkin plans to steal a valuable ruby from the Chase home.

As he is doing so, Michael, the father of the Chase family, appears, injured, triggers a trap, and is dragged into the basement by a masked man. Arkin attempts to call 911, but the phone is rigged with a spike that punctures his ear. The windows have been boarded up and lined with razors, making escape impossible.

Arkin retreats to the basement, where Michael informs him that his wife Victoria has also been captured, his older daughter Jill is out, and younger daughter Hannah is hiding in the house. Michael gives Arkin the combination to the safe, which contains a gun. Arkin grabs the gun (which has no bullets) and pockets the ruby.

Arkin finds a trunk containing a bloodied Larry. Larry explains that the masked man is a "collector" of people; he only collects one person from a household and kills everyone else. Horrified, Arkin flees and discovers that Michael is now dead. He frees a tortured Victoria, who is killed by the Collector.

Jill arrives home with her boyfriend Chad. Chad is killed when he is pushed into a room filled with bear traps. Jill manages to make a 911 call before being captured. Arkin frees Jill, only for her to be killed by a trap. Arkin escapes the house but sees the Collector approaching Hannah. Changing his mind, he reenters the house.

Arkin prepares a trap to kill the Collector, but the trap kills Larry instead. He sends Hannah down a laundry chute to the basement to hide. Before he can do the same, the Collector captures and brutally tortures him.

A police officer responding to Jill's 911 call is killed by the Collector's dog. Arkin frees himself and discovers a dead Victoria and armed explosives in the basement. After killing the Collector's dog and trapping the Collector in one of his own traps, Arkin escapes with Hannah.

He runs into the road to get the attention of police cars and is hit by one of the cars. He sees Hannah carried away by the police and tells them that the Collector was an exterminator working at the Chase house. The explosives detonate but the Collector gets away unharmed. While Arkin is being taken to the hospital, the Collector ambushes the ambulance and kills everyone except Arkin, whom he kidnaps.

In a post-credits scene, the Collector watches film slides on the trunk containing Arkin, who threatens to kill him.



The Collector was theatrically released by Freestyle Releasing on July 31, 2009, in the United States, and on DVD on April 6, 2010.[7] A rental version was made available February 12, 2010, through Blockbuster Video's Exclusive Line.[8] The DVD includes two deleted scenes, and also an alternative ending which is Arkin leaving after seeing Hannah in the window – thus cutting off the remaining 25 minutes of the film.[citation needed]


Critical response

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 28% of 75 critics were positive, with an average rating of 4.12/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Increasingly tedious displays of gore makes this torture porn home-invasion-horror more programmatic than provocative."[9] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 29 out of 100, based on 11 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[10]

Clay Cane of BET noted that, "You will squirm, but aren't we getting a bit desensitized to these routine torture flicks? It's like seeing a pop songstress get naked for the billionth time – yeah, she's hot, but we have all seen it before."[11] Bloody Disgusting gave the film a 3.5/5 and wrote that The Collector is "a raw, gritty and uncompromising horror film that puts the previous Saw film to shame." The reviewer also believed that the character of the Collector had the potential to become a new horror icon.[12]

Box office

On the opening day, the film opened in 1,325 theaters, grossing $1,325,000.[13] The film has grossed $7,712,114.[14]


Main article: The Collection (film)

Speaking about a sequel, Patrick Melton said in an interview:

I didn't think it necessarily would happen because while the movie did well for its budget, it certainly wasn't a blockbuster, but it did well enough that the film's producer, Mickey Liddell, wants to make a sequel and of course wants me and Marcus to be involved again. So we are seeing if we can work out some sort of a deal for us to write it and for Marcus to direct, but right now it's just in the deal stage. It is a possibility. I couldn't imagine it being made without Marcus directing it."[15]

Shooting on the second film, The Collection, began in October 2010,[16] and the film was released on November 30, 2012. Josh Stewart reprised his role as Arkin.

On May 2, 2019, Josh Stewart tweeted that another sequel titled The Collected, stylized as The Coll3cted, was happening along with a poster.

In April 2021, writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton admitted that the third film may not happen due to "creative disinterest" from producers and many of the props being stolen.[17]

Marcus Dunstan stated in an interview on June 6, 2022 that he still intends to finish the project.[18]

See also


  1. ^ Although not stated in the film's credits, the Writers Guild of America lists the film as being based on "a screenplay" by the same writers, referring that the earlier script they shopped around, titled The Midnight Man, was considered as a separate project.[1]


  1. ^ "The Collector". Writers Guild of America West. Retrieved 18 January 2022.
  2. ^ McNary Dave (July 17, 2009). "Duo sparked by 'Project Greenlight'". Variety.
  3. ^ "The Collector Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 28, 2009.
  4. ^ Confirmed! The Collector DVD Coming in April
  5. ^ "How 'The Collector' Was Almost a Prequel to Saw!". Blooding Disgusting. Retrieved July 21, 2009.
  6. ^ "INTERVIEW: Marcus Dunstan & Patrick Melton". July 31, 2009.
  7. ^ "The Collector DVD Release in April?!?". December 28, 2009.
  8. ^ Full Specs and Art for DVD and Blu-ray of The Collector
  9. ^ "The Collector (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  10. ^ "The Collector Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
  11. ^ Cane, Clay (2009-07-31). "Movie Review: The Collector". BET. Archived from the original on 2009-08-02. Retrieved 2022-10-05.
  12. ^ "The Collector Review". Blooding Disgusting. Retrieved July 27, 2009.
  13. ^ New Stills From The Collector
  14. ^ "Box Office Mojo – The Collector". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 2, 2009.
  15. ^ "The Collection". March 15, 2010.
  16. ^ "The Collection". bloody-disgusting. April 28, 2010.
  17. ^ Hussaini, Fahadullah (April 6, 2021). "The Collector 3 May Not Happen, Leaving Trilogy Incomplete". Screen Rant. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  18. ^ Hermanns, Grant (2022-06-06). "Collector 3 Gets Hopeful Update From Original Movie Director". ScreenRant. Retrieved 2023-09-28.