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The Collector (2009)

Plot Edit

Warning: this text contains details about the plot/ending of the film.

The film begins with a house at night. The owners, Larry and Gena Wharton (Diane Goldner), come home from a night of drinking. While Gena goes upstairs, Larry stays downstairs to read some mail. However, he finds that the lights don’t work. Gena calls out for him, and so he rushes upstairs. In their bedroom they find a big red box. Larry assumes one of the workers must’ve left it. On top of the box is the message “for the collection”. The box suddenly moves. Larry opens the box and is shocked to find what’s inside. A hand suddenly reaches out and grabs Larry.

After the opening credits, we see another two-story house having some construction. Among the workers are an exterminator and a man named Arkin (Josh Stewart). The family living in the house is Michael (Michael Reilly Burke), his wife Victoria (Andrea Roth), their teenage daughter Jill (Madeleine Zima), and their little girl Hannah (Karley Scott Collins). Michael asks for Arkin to finish putting bars on the windows today.

While outside, Arkin smokes a cigarette while putting up the remaining bars. After he finishes, Michael pays Arkin for his work and throws in a little extra for Arkin’s daughter Cindy. Michael tells him to cherish his daughter, since they get all weird once they hit their teens. Arkin thanks him and drives off.

Later, at home Arkin and his wife Lisa go to the kitchen, where she asks him for the money. It turns out that Lisa owes money to loan sharks, and the deadline is tonight. She’s planning on running away with Cindy since she can’t pay them, but Arkin promises to get the money for her debt by midnight. Arkin calls Roy (Robert Wisdom) and wants to see him immediately. They meet at a sleazy strip club and talk inside Roy’s car. Arkin is an ex-convict and Roy helped him out while in prison. Arkin has been repaying Roy by picking locks and stealing things for him. Arkin tells Roy that he’s been casing the house he’s been working on. Michael is a jewel broker, and has a valuable jewel hidden in a safe. The family is out of town now, and he needs Roy to pay him tonight. Roy finally agrees to the change of plans and allows Arkin to leave.

Arkin drives back to the house at night, and we see that the house in the middle of nowhere. He puts on a mask and grabs his tool bag. As he sneaks towards the house, he is unexpectedly attacked by a newly placed dog (which takes a bite out of his mask). Arkin picks the lock to the back door of the house. He enters and everything seems fine. He goes upstairs to the master bathroom and lifts the mirror up, knowing that it covers the safe. He takes off his mask and starts to crack the safe when he hears someone downstairs. A masked man (Juan Fernandez), a killer who wears a black mask, locks the back door and starts to come upstairs. Arkin quickly puts the mirror back, grabs his bag, and hides in the other room while the masked man is on the other side of the wall. The masked man goes into the bathroom, and Arkin sneaks downstairs. He tries to leave but finds that there are several locks on the top of the back door, all of which are lacking a barrel. There are also several locks on the front door as well. Arkin decides to find another exit, but for his family’s sake, he decides to stay in the house to get the jewel.

He goes back to the master bathroom and works on the safe again when he hears screaming through the vent. Michael emerges from the basement, beaten and bloody. Arkin hides his bag and goes to see what’s going on. He sees that The assailant grabbed Michael and took him to the basement. Arkin, having seen the whole thing, decides to call 911. He picks up the phone failing to see that a needle has been placed in the receiver. As he lifts it to his ear he unwittingly punctures his eardrum. He decides to leave through a window, but he finds that they are all boarded up. He sticks his hands through the gaps between the boards to try and get a grip on them to remove them, but as he does this he pushes his hand through razors nailed behind the boards, which start cutting into his hand as he takes it out. He pulls his hand out and wraps it in cloth to stop the bleeding and tries to go to another door by the dining room, but he slices his cheek discovering a web of razor sharp wires tied across the room. He realizes that there are several traps hidden around the house. The floor of the dining room is filled with bear traps. Arkin goes to the kitchen to get scissors, but finds that it’s booby-trapped. The masked man is roaming around the house. Arkin tries to go up the staircase, but finds that nails have been placed on the steps. With the assailant coming closer, Arkin has two choices – go upstairs or go to the basement. He chooses the basement.

Arkin uses his flashlight to see when he gets startled by something. He turns on the light and sees that Michael has been tied to a chair. He’s bloodier than before, having been tortured with deep gashes all over his body and feet. Arkin asks where the rest of his family is. Victoria is in the basement as well, Jill is out with her boyfriend, and he doesn’t know if Hannah is still in the house or not. Michael tells him that he has a gun in the safe upstairs and gives him the combination. Arkin has Michael quiet down and goes into the other room, where he finds Victoria chained to a bathtub. She also has duct tape pinned over her eyes. Arkin removes a gag from her mouth and calms her down. He says that he’ll find Hannah and save them but she has to help him. He wants her to scream, so that when the masked man comes downstairs, he can sneak back upstairs. He tells her to stop screaming once the killer comes back down there so that he won’t hurt her. Victoria screams, causing the masked man to come downstairs. Arkin sneaks upstairs and goes to the master bathroom. He opens the safe and grabs the pistol inside. He also takes the jewel, which is the size of a fist. The only problem is that there are no bullets for the gun. The masked man holds Victoria’s tongue with a wrench and threatens to cut her tongue off, but doesn’t do anything.

Arkin looks all over for Hannah, but doesn’t find her. He hears a noise coming from a closet. He opens the closet and finds a big red box inside, which is moving. He opens the box and Larry lunges out. His legs are chained to the box. Arkin asks him who the intruder is and what he’s doing there. Larry explains that the masked man is a "Collector" of people. If he finds someone that he likes, he’ll capture that person in the box and use them as bait for his next victims and brutally torture them until death. He’ll kill everyone else in the household, like his wife Gena. Larry yells for Arkin to get out while he still can, but Arkin puts him back in the box. Arkin goes into Jill’s room and sees that the window is wide open. He doesn’t see that the floor is covered in some yellow/orange substance. Arkin takes a couple of steps in it and realizes that it’s acid. Arkin jumps on the bed and tries to retrieve his shoes, but they are stuck in the acid, along with the cat. The cat tries to free itself but screeches in pain, causing the Collector to hear the commotion upstairs. Arkin rips the cat free and throws it away, landing on the window. The reason why the window was open is because it’s booby-trapped. As soon as the cat lands, the window slams shut and slices the cat into two, splattering blood all over Arkin’s face.

The Collector goes upstairs to investigate the commotion and hears Larry in the box. He just kicks the box to get him to shut up. He then goes into Jill’s room and finds that the cat is dead. Arkin hides under the covers of the bed, and he has placed books over his shoes to cover his presence. The Collector leaves the room, and Arkin does as well (using the books as stepping stones). Arkin grabs a paper clip and sneaks into the basement again. Once there, he finds that Michael has been hung upside down and gutted. Arkin nearly vomits upon seeing Michael’s intestines on the floor. He goes to the other room and frees Victoria from the bathtub (using the paper clip to pick the handcuffs). He tells her that Michael is fine and says that he’s going to lead her out. He wants her to only look at his back. Victoria steps in blood though, causing her to discover Michael’s body. She screams and runs upstairs, where the Collector is waiting for her. He repeatedly stabs her in the chest, causing her to fall down the stairs into the basement. Arkin hides under a desk as the Collector drags the still alive Victoria back to the tub. Arkin uses the opportunity to escape back upstairs. The Collector sews Victoria’s mouth shut and records her screams. Arkin breaks a window with a lamp to try to escape, but then hears a car outside.

Jill and her boyfriend Chad (Alex Feldman) are fooling around in Chad’s car. The Collector also hears the car and goes upstairs. Arkin tries to warn them not to come in the house, but it starts to rain outside, causing his screams to go unnoticed. Jill and Chad try to enter through the front door, but can’t get it open. They go to the back door, where the Collector has unlocked the added locks with a special key. Jill and Chad go inside and continue to fool around, oblivious to all the traps around them. They go to the kitchen, where Chad rips Jill’s blouse open and takes off her bra. The Collector, crouching nearby, watches with delight. Arkin sneaks downstairs and crawls underneath the dining room table. Jill eventually notices the Collector nearby and becomes scared. The Collector readies his knife and approaches the couple. Chad attacks him, who is then stabbed through the hand and pushed through the doorway, where a trap causes a cleaver to slice his fingers off. Chad then steps into the dining room, where his leg gets stuck in a bear trap. He falls to his knees, causing his other leg to get caught. He finally falls backwards, where he is graphically killed by a plethora of bear traps. The Collector then grabs Jill and locks the back door again. She calls 911, but he pulls her away before she can say anything.

Arkin sets off an alarm clock upstairs, causing the Collector to go investigate. Arkin finds that Jill has been tied to the staircase with barb wire. He frees her and tells her that they need to escape. She freaks out and grabs the scissors from the kitchen. A trap throws her across the room and she is impaled by hidden spikes behind a projector screen. Arkin goes upstairs, removes the boards from a window, and punches the glass out. He jumps down to the ground and starts to run away when he looks back and sees Hannah screaming out for him in a window. He then sees the Collector making his way towards Hannah, having heard her screams. Arkin runs back to the house, but the Collector reaches Hannah first. He corners her on the staircase but Arkin shows up and pistol whips him. He carries Hannah to her room and locks the door. They hear the Collector trying to break down the door. Arkin comes up with an idea. Hannah and Arkin stay off the floor. The door bursts open and Arkin breaks the fish tank, covering the floor with water. Hannah then pushes her TV onto the floor, intending to electrocute and kill the Collector. However, the Collector has pushed Larry through the door as a decoy, and so Larry is electrocuted to death instead.

The Collector throws knives at Arkin, but he manages to escape with Hannah to another room. Arkin turns around and gets a fish hook through his eyebrow, hand and ear. There are several hooks dangling from the ceiling. The Collector uses Larry’s head as a battering ram on the door. Arkin sends Hannah down a laundry chute, which sends her to the basement where she hides. Before Arkin can go down the chute with her, the Collector breaks through the door and grabs him, beginning a struggle. During the struggle, Arkin rips the Collector’s mask off. He sees his face; the audience does not. The Collector knocks Arkin out and puts his mask back on.

We see that Arkin has been placed in the basement. His hands are cuffed and there are several fish hooks through his back, tying him to the wall. The Collector wakes Arkin up by slicing his forehead with a knife. Arkin sees Hannah hiding under the desk and pleads with the killer to let Hannah go. The Collector notices that Arkin keeps looking towards the desk and approaches it. To distract him, Arkin insults the Collector by calling him a faggot. Angrily, The Collector slices Arkin’s chest and holds a jar of insects. He holds a lighter to the jar, causing the insects to burrow into Arkin’s wound. He also knocks out one of Arkin’s teeth. Another car arrives at the house. It is a police officer responding to Jill’s 911 call. The Collector leaves the basement to deal with the officer. The cop looks into a window of the house and sees Chad’s mangled corpse. He goes around back and finds the Collector standing outside.

While the cop forces him at gunpoint to drop his knife and prepares to arrest the Collector, the distraction allows the Chase dog to attack the cop and rip his throat open. The Collector then breaks the cop’s neck, killing him before taking the dog for his own. Arkin painfully tears himself free of the hooks and gets Hannah. They find that Victoria is dead in the bathtub. Arkin sees that the Collector has filled the tub with gasoline and realizes that he plans to destroy the house with them inside. The Collector grabs the cop’s shotgun and reenters the house with his new dog.

To get out of the basement, Arkin ties himself to Hannah and crawls through the laundry chute. He pulls Hannah up just before the dog attacks her. Arkin then lights a toilet roll on fire and puts it in a trash can. When the dog goes upstairs to attack them, Arkin shoves the flaming trash can into the dog’s head, killing it. Arkin then throws the dead dog at the Collector as a distraction, and he inadvertently blasts it apart with the shotgun. Arkin engages in a more violent fight with the Collector. Arkin manages to kick the Collector into the basement and lock him inside. Arkin has the keys to the front door, but the special key broke during the fight. The Collector grabs the shotgun and blasts his way through the door. He finds Arkin holding Hannah nearby. He shoots at them, but realizes that he’s been fooled. He just shot at a mirror strategically placed right in front of the door lock, Arkin and Hannah are actually behind him. Arkin releases the wire for the chandelier, causing it to crush and stab the Collector. Arkin and Hannah make it outside and run off. The Collector, wounded, also leaves the house. They get to a road, where Arkin sees a swarm of cops heading their way. He has Hannah stay by the side of the road. He runs into the middle of the road to flag them down, which causes one of the cars to accidently run down Arkin.

An injured Arkin looks to Hannah and sees the Collector sneaking up behind her. He yells out for her as he grabs her, but he sees that the man who grabbed her is a police officer. Hannah is safely placed in a cop car. As Arkin is put in a stretcher and loaded into an ambulance, the house explodes in the distance. Arkin tells a police officer that he saw the Collector’s face. The cops have found an address fitting the suspect’s description and leave to investigate. On the way to the hospital, Arkin pulls out the jewel from his pants. He asks the paramedic what time it is. It’s a little before midnight. Arkin tells the paramedic to call his wife. The paramedic tells him that they can do that at the hospital. Arkin insists and the paramedic gives in, asking him what his wife's number is.

Before he can answer, a large van suddenly slams into the ambulance, causing it to flip over until it lands upside down. The van moves closer to the ambulance; The driver is then revealed to be the Collector. The Collector enters the ambulance and throws a knife into the paramedic’s eye, killing him. He then uses another knife to cut Arkin free of the stretcher. In vain, Arkin Begs and Pleads with the to let him go, with no success. After bringing Arkin to the back of his van and throws him inside the red box, it is revealed that the Collector is the exterminator who Arkin had worked with at the beginning of the film, which explains how he was able to enter the house and set up all those traps. Slamming the door shut, he takes the fake exterminator sign off of his van. The film ends with the Collector driving away into a town with Arkin in tow.

After the end credits, we see the Collector watching a slide show while sitting on top of the red box. Inside, Arkin is heard screaming that he will kill him when he gets out. The Collector then kicks the box to shut him up.

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