Collapsed (2011, DVD Review)

Directed by Justin McConnell

Cast: Vincent Thomas, Steve Vieira, Stefano Gallo, Lisa Moule, Anna Ross

Anchor Bay Entertainment / NTSC Region 1 / Not Rated / 2.35:1 Widescreen / English Dolby 5.1 Surround, Dolby 2.0 Stereo / English Subtitles / 82 mins.

Special Features: Audio Commentary With Writer/Producer/Director Justin McConnell and Co-Producer Kevin Hutchinson / Audio Commentary With Actor John Fantasia / Music Video: Rob Kleiner’s “Devil In Disguise” / Weblink (QR Code) to unlock Apocalypse on a Budget – Making Of Documentary / Trailers / Photo Gallery / Cast And Crew Bios

PURCHASE FROM BOULEVARD MOVIES

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The best kind of movie is one that you know absolutely nothing about. This was the case for me going into The Collapsed, I hadn’t even read the synopsis. Any sort of clue I would have been given would be based on the cover art alone: A machine gun-toting bad ass sporting a gas mask across what appeared to be a pale, desolate landscape. My only assumption was that it took place in some sort of post-apocalyptic world, and well, it only took a few minutes of runtime for me to be proven correct. Then again, I guess the tagline “As our world ends, their nightmare begins” kind of gives it away so maybe I’m not as much of a genius as I think I am. Right off the bat, we’re introduced to a family of four whose objective seems to be as simple as to find a place to settle down while also evading whatever trouble could be coming their way.  And instantly, the viewer is left with nothing but questions. Exactly what sort of trouble is coming their way?

The presumably newly close-knit family weaves through barren streets searching for any bit of hope. One of their own is potentially dead and they’re not wasting any time that could be spent finding him, barring the necessary rest. Their surroundings are absolutely demolished, corpses are strewn in front of them, and when you factor in that they’re running from something it becomes apparent that finding comfort is no easy task. Time spent settling down is used to develop the characters, and these are characters that the director wants you to know well. Each individual seems to have some sort of will to get out of this mess and you’ll see that they all have their reasons for living despite what may have been taken away from them.

Seeing a family struggle to get along under such dire circumstances could be construed as a comment on society’s distortion of values. Events that occur later on could even be tied to some sort of political message, I just don’t know what. The Collapsed honestly threw me a curveball, I thought it would have taken the easy way out and decided to have been a stupid-fun zombie splatterfest. Fifteen minutes in, my girlfriend even asked me “Is this a zombie movie?” and at that point I wasn’t sure whether to say yes or no.  It turns out to be much more than that.. This is not your typical movie monster.

Despite the amount of time spent developing the characters, there weren’t many occasions where I felt remorse for the people put in this predicament, or at least that was the case until the final minutes. It was almost too much to ask for, and I practically had to thumb tack my eyelids to the wall behind me to stay awake. The acting was more than competent, aside from the dad who seemed to struggle with the English language, but I have to say that I strained myself trying to connect to any one of them. I really had to hang on tight at the moments where it really dragged (which, realistically was the first half of it). However, the last 20 minutes present a twist that, while not entirely original was still unexpected and led to an ending that not only left me shocked but also kind of bummed.

Nearly everything that the film strives to do is realized at the end, but it may test your patience. What kept me going is wondering what these characters were going to run into. If you stick with it too, you will see that the film manages to evoke an emotional response from the viewer. I personally felt drained, not only physically due to the amount of time spent trying to stay awake during the first hour of it, but emotionally when everything I just saw sank in. The score is actually very memorable and fitting with the dark tone the film presents, so no complaints there. As far as the look goes, expect a lot of bland colors that also manage to work for it.

Collapsed is sort of a well-groomed but rather slow one-trick pony. And I realize that I may have sent some mixed signals with this review, but the bottom line is that it’s worth checking out at least once. I got it for free so I can’t decide whether or not it’s worth a purchase, but if you find it cheap or if it happens to pop up on Netflix Instant, I’d say it’s worth a look. Just have a lot of caffeine handy while you wait for the good stuff.

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