The Collapsed DVD Review - -
The Collapsed
Reviewed by
Sean Warhurst
The Collapsed DVD Review An engrossing final fifteen minutes certainly doesn’t make up for the agonisingly protracted lead up, and even at a scarce 82 minutes, the film drags interminably. I appreciate the effort that went into making the feature, and McConnell’s enthusiasm for the genre is clearly evident, but I really can’t recommend this beyond the informative feature length ‘Making Of’.

Feature 2.0
Video 7.0
Audio 7.0
Special features 5.0
Total 2.8
Distributor: Anchor Bay
Running Time: 82 Minutes
Reviewer: Sean Warhurst
: MA15+


The Collapsed

Directed by Justin McConnell, The Collapsed is touted as a post apocalyptic horror film focusing on the Weaver family’s escape from the city to a rural community in an attempt to reunite with an absent family member and to try to avoid the violence and homicide that has become prevalent during the end of days. Once they escape to a forest and try to make it to their destination on foot, they discover that other survivors are the least of their problems as they are seemingly stalked by something that may be supernatural in origin.

Shot on a shoestring budget, the scope of the film is ambitious, but due to budgetary constraints and a meandering script, the final product is a film pretty much comprised of a family walking, bickering, walking some more, hearing some weird noises and then walking some more.

I entered this film with an open mind, fully aware that as a low budget independent feature it would have some rough edges. A low budget doesn’t necessarily equate to low quality, and many of my favourite films fit this mould, such as ‘El Mariachi’ and ‘The Evil Dead’. In order to circumvent issues that arise from lack of financing, these films displayed an ingenuity that is absent from many big budget features and relied on strong writing, performances and direction to present a truly unique product.

Unfortunately, The Collapsed is marred by poor acting and unrealistic scenes, such as one particularly annoying scene where a character splits off from the main group in order to shave her legs. Yeah. The world’s ending, people are being picked off by militant psychos in gas masks and this character decides that removing the peach fuzz from her legs is her overriding concern. That’s just poor writing and a transparent ploy to separate a main character from the group in order to have a ‘spooky’ moment.

Many aspects of the film fall flat, such as the ham-fisted attempts at character building between the father and son and the unanimous instant acceptance of the existence of the presence that appears to be haunting them. Nobody questions anything in this film, and if a character does raise objection to a suggestion, they quickly change their mind with little persuasion; their actions only serve to move the story forward, albeit at a snail’s pace. At times it almost feels like you’re watching a “Mystery Science Theatre 3000” film, without the hilarious riffing by the crew.

The visual effects in the film are accomplished via a mixture of practical effects and CGI and, for the most part, are extraordinarily good. Especially striking are the scenes of the destruction in the city, although these are only seen briefly at the beginning of the film.

To be fair, the film does have some genuinely surprising moments throughout, and some unnerving dream sequences serve to heighten the tension admirably, but then the film quickly drops us back into boring scenes of the survivors traversing the forest. Scenes featuring the presence preying on members of the family come off as an extremely shoddy ‘Evil Dead’ homage, but most other effects have a professional quality to them, although sometimes the blood seems slightly off.

The final fifteen or so minutes of the film are actually pretty decent, as the story ramps up to a satisfying, albeit slightly clichéd ending. The climax attempts to tie together some of the loose ends and describe what actually led to the downfall of civilisation, putting a new spin on some of the preceding scenes. However, the film assumes you’ve persevered throughout the plodding hour or so before this, and I fear that many viewers would have turned the film off in frustration prior to these revelations.


Video & Audio Quality

Despite the low budget, the direction is decent and there are some lovely scenic shots that wouldn’t be out of place in a nature documentary. The picture quality is fine and the camerawork is quite good, although McConnell doesn’t display the same aptitude as his contemporaries. The transfer is adequate but there is some noticeable noise in the darker scenes.

The audio is crisp, with dialogue and sound effects handled well. Available in 5.1 and 2.0 Prologic surround sound, the levels are mastered for maximum quality and provide an immersive sound experience. The soundtrack, whilst undeniably lo-fi, is actually pretty decent and I personally found this to be one of the redeeming features of the film, particularly the haunting final track ‘Devil in Disguise’.

Special Features

The Collapsed has some substantial special features, such as a lengthy ‘Making Of’ that explores every aspect of making a feature on very little money and serves as an inspiration for anyone with aspirations to make a film themselves. To be honest, this informative featurette was infinitely more enjoyable to watch than the film itself and comes highly recommended.

Also included is the requisite trailers and cast and crew biographies, behind the scenes photos and some interesting TV spots, including a curious interview with ‘Naked News’, which is sure to satisfy those of us with more, shall we say, “voyeuristic”  tendencies. A nice addition is the inclusion of the soundtrack, both on the disc and as a download. This is an innovative feature for viewers who enjoy film scores and one I would welcome on other releases.

List of features:

-      Justin McConnell and Kevin Hutchinson (Director and Co-Producer, respectively)
-      John Fantasia (Lead Actor)
Apocalypse on a Budget – The Making of ‘The Collapsed’ (110:24)
Music Video – Devil in Disguise (2:34)
Original Score Jukebox & Free Album Download
TV Segments:
-      Space TV’s ‘Innerspace’ (2:43)
-      Naked News ‘Naked at the Movies’ (4:05)
-     G4TV’s ‘Electric Playground’ (2:50)
-      2010 Early Teaser (1:28)
-      2011 Official (1:43)
-      2012 Official (1:27)
Cast and Crew Bios
Artwork and Photo Gallery

Final Thoughts

As a fan of post apocalyptic tales like ‘The Road’ I really wanted to enjoy this film but it brings nothing new to the table. Ambitious in scope, ‘The Collapsed’ is disappointing in its execution. There are some lovely shots throughout the film, and the cinematography is quite competent for a film of this standard, but the hammy acting, monotonous pacing and poor story serve to make the experience one of tedium rather than entertainment.

An engrossing final fifteen minutes certainly doesn’t make up for the agonisingly protracted lead up, and even at a scarce 82 minutes, the film drags interminably. I appreciate the effort that went into making the feature, and McConnell’s enthusiasm for the genre is clearly evident, but I really can’t recommend this beyond the informative feature length ‘Making Of’.


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