THE COLLECTOR (2009) Reviews and overview

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The Collector is a 2009 American horror feature film written by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton and directed by Dunstan (director of The Neighbour; The Collection; writer of Piranha 3DD; Saw 3D: The Final Chapter; Feast and its sequels).

Originally titled The Midnight Man, the script was intended to be a Saw prequel, but the producers were against the idea and quickly dismissed it.


Arkin is an ex-con working with a home renovations crew performing work for the Chase family. Arkin’s ex-wife is in debt with loan sharks, so to protect her and their daughter, Cindy, Arkin plans on breaking into the Chase home and stealing a rare gem they have hidden in a safe so he can use it to settle his ex-wife’s debt.

Later that night, Arkin breaks into the house, it begins to storm and he walks up the stairs and starts to break open the safe. Arkin soon discovers that someone else has already broken in, and has hidden numerous death and snare traps all around…


“Plot holes abound, one of the most egregious of which is the entire relevant question of how the Collector managed to booby-trap the house in what seems like only a few hours while the family was away. Motivation, means, and madness are often just flat-out ignored in favor of some seriously deafening sound design and director of photography Brandon Cox’s Saw-influenced visuals, which makes the whole film look as though it was shot through a particularly nasty cataract.” Austin Chronicle

” …for a genre that consistently gets off on a Hanna-Barbera aesthetic to shock audiences out of their allowance money, it’s interesting to see primal fear put back on the screen, forcing the crowds to twist and shout their way through the agony. Unfortunately, Dunstan doesn’t know where to end this picture, finding nearly four potential stop points that he carelessly blows off to extend the chills. Brian Orndorf

“I sat just between liking The Collector for the unusualness of its set-up and switching off at the catalogue of extreme sadism paraded before us. Ultimately, the film falls down on the side of the latter. There are not many times that Marcus Dunstan does not cut a beeline for the nasty and sadistic punchline […] The other complaint might be that the film is extremely vague about who The Collector is, why he keeps people in boxes or seems to expend great effort turning houses into death traps…” Moria

“It would be hypocritical to denounce a film for being too brutal when you make a habit of watching and blogging about them but The Collector, like some of the scenes in, say, Hostel: Part II, goes further than what I’d find entertaining. Gruesome ways to kill people – fine, this does share some production credits with the Saw franchise – but the prolonged suffering of people and animals isn’t where I want to get my kicks…” Vegan Voorhees

“Once the action switches to the house, it becomes yet another darkened, dreary, unimaginative torture porn-type of horror flick.  The solid set-up eventually gives way to ho-hum execution and the doldrums set in well before the finale.  Dunstan shows enough promise as a director in the early scenes though to make you want to see something else from him down the road.” The Video Vacuum  

“The masked killer is obviously the writer, because he has no reason to exist otherwise, and as with Saw, he has somehow managed to put together all of these contraptions and traps in a matter of hours, and the barebones, empty plot, as with porn, is only there to get to the endless scenes with the body fluids and torture toys.” The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre

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