Once again, I find myself riding the crest of the wave that’s not quite in line with the prevailing opinion, at least from my conversations and readings. Of course, we Fellow Fans know that such is the life of a horror fan; I have yet to find a film that made everyone happy, and I’m certainly not naive enough to believe I ever will. It’s simple human nature that we’re not all gonna like the same things, and as I’ve alluded to before, that’s a damn good thing; can you imagine a world where every car/outfit/TV show was the same? Now that’s a horror story…or at least a pretty creepy Twilight Zone episode.
The Collapsed is a little indie film that has put me a bit on the other side of the “popular opinion” fence. A lot other folks that I’ve spoken with or read have panned the film, but I myself found some pretty good stuff hiding in the flick.
The film opens in the midst of an unexplained emergency; we’re treated to voiceover news reports of erupting violence and promptly segue into a small group of four people, whom we quickly learn are a family, holed-up in a dingy building and searching for a way out. The father is obviously the strongest personality in the group, and a natural leader; this is fortunate, as we are shown that whatever is going wrong is very dangerously wrong. A man is shown slowly cutting away some portion of another human being, the buildings of the city are in flames, and a pall of fear and death dominates the atmosphere. Unusually for a horror flick, the characters actually begin by making smart decisions; Dad picks up a pistol (and later a rifle) that he finds, and the family seeks a vehicle to flee the city. With all the dead folks piled around, this isn’t very hard, and soon the four are on their way out into the country, their goal to reach their son (the eldest, it’s implied) who chose to remain in their old town when the rest moved to the city. Along the way they come across a couple of other “survivors” (again, an assumption), but these guys aren’t looking to trade squirrel recipes. Faced with a much better-armed force, the family has no choice but to flee from their purloined vehicle deep into the woods, escaping the militant survivalists.
While determining their next move, certain members of the family begin to feel a strange presence lurking in the trees. It isn’t long before things begin to slide swiftly into shit, and deep revelations about family members are discovered through the stress of the ordeal; relationships are tested, and trust becomes paramount to survival…
I’ll come right out and tell you that this movie is a slow-mover; the pacing is deliberate, but it’s not at all hard for me to see how a lot of folks would be turned off and tune out. I found the acting ranged from mediocre to pretty good, but none of it as terrible as I was led to believe. For such a low budget production, I felt the filmmakers made the most of what they had; the camera work was effective and utilized the emotion of the actors and the backdrop of the forest quite well. The editing was choppy at times, and even somewhat annoying in a couple of spots, but not enough to ruin the film (trust me guys; we have seen a lot worse in that department). There are a couple of real “dummy” moments (you’ll know them when you see them), but given the context I could buy that young, frightened people would seek solace in simple comforts in the face of armageddon. All in all I was impressed with the story; again, the slow pace is cited as a major deficit, but I didn’t really see anything I would call “filler”; everything serves the story and encourages an emotional investment in the characters (it’s hard for any film, much less a cheapie independent, to succeed if you don’t have that). The ending was a good idea, but sharp-eyed fans will probably at least suspect the twist before they see it; that’s not to say that it wasn’t well-executed, and it still promotes something of a visceral response.
All in all, I’ll agree that this film isn’t an award-winner; still, I found enough enjoyment in it that I certainly can’t say I’m sorry I watched it.
If you’re craving a gory, jump-scare laden thrill ride, this isn’t the place to look for it; on the other hand, if you’re the type that might be looking for some real human drama with your scare-flick, and don’t mind a bit of a slow burn to get to know the characters and build the tension, you could do a hell of a lot worse than this. Of course, I wouldn’t judge ya either way. =)
Personally, I liked it. Granted, it’s not something that I’ll watch again and again, and I wouldn’t recommend dropping a lot of cash to see it; still, I don’t regret watching it at all. For this kind o’ micro-budget indie flick, I thought it acquitted itself nicely; to me, it’s a pretty good time-waster with a nice twist and some humanity.
If that sort of thing will float yer boat, I say give it a shot.
And that’s my two-thirds of a nickel for this one (inflation, y’understand 🙂 ).