"The Collapsed" is exactly what you expect from a low budget horror film; it's pretty dreadful most of the time, but is also somewhat impressive at times especially considering with how little they had to work with. The cast is underwhelming. Most of the acting from the entire cast is very stiff. Nothing really feels like it flows naturally and feels forced more often than not. John Fantasia is okay for a while, but loses what little credit he has in the last ten to fifteen minutes of the movie where he seems to channel the overacting ability of Nicolas Cage. Nobody knows how to cry properly either as not one of them sheds a single, solitary tear amongst the four of them.
Much of the movie is characters hearing hushed voices all around them and feeling a presence that always seems to be there but can never be seen. So more often than not you're watching somebody whip around pointing a gun at tree bark over and over again as somebody else asks them a similar barrage of questions somebody would on "Lassie;" "What is it, girl? Do you hear something? Is somebody in trouble?" It does eventually pay off in the end, but it's highly likely that many will turn it off before it gets to that point.
The screenplay gets the job done, but isn't great. The Rebecca character seems purposely written to be annoying. She's incredibly petty, is on the verge of a hissy fit because the world has ended and has taken her boyfriend in the process, and says really stupid things most of the time. Her dad tells her to get some sleep, which she replies, "You don't have to tell me twice," which would've made since if her mother hadn't said the exact same thing less than five minutes before. But then once she shaves her legs, she becomes little miss "let's keep the family together." Scott's "I saw what I saw!" bit at the end didn't really help matters either. It just seems like a silly and obvious thing to exclaim when you're in danger.
The best part about "The Collapsed" is the score; classical at times, bluesy at others, and all out jazz in between. There are some serious horns used at times and a fair share of strings. It's pretty great. Unfortunately, it seems extremely out of place the rest of the time. Sneaking around the woods with blazing horns triumphantly highlighting your journey seems kind of awkward, doesn't it?
The moment that stands out the most is when Scott and Aaron have this one-on-one conversation in a house they break into where they have their first hot meal in weeks. Their dialogue, body language, and performances are just much more genuine than everything else in the movie.
"The Collapsed" certainly isn't the worst movie you could watch. In fact, it's watchable just not great. The gory ending tries to make up for every shortcoming the movie has in the rest of its 82 minute duration. It's like it grazes the surface of what the ending was like to the original "Saw." It isn't nearly as big of a twist and it doesn't have nearly as much of an impact, but the similarities are certainly there.
The movie does feel pretty silly at times and if the rigid acting doesn't get to you the lame dialogue just might. In the end though, if you power through every urge to turn the movie off and give "The Collapsed" an actual chance, it's a somehwat effective low budget horror movie that isn't quite as bad as some are making it out to be. It feels kind of like an even cheaper version of "The Divide," also released by Anchor Bay, but "The Divide" is definitely the better of the two.
The single disc DVD is loaded with special features including 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 the 71-minute "Apocalypse On A Budget" Making of Documentary, Trailers, Photo Gallery, and Cast and Crew Bios. Also available as downloads are the Original Score Jukebox & Free MP3 Album and the Original Screenplay.
"The Collapsed" will be available on single disc DVD starting Tuesday, June 5th. The movie is not rated, has a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation, features Dolby 5.1 Surround and Dolby 2.0 Prologic 2 Sound, has English subtitles, and is approximately 82 minutes long. It should be available to purchase in most retail outlets and online stores.