DVD Review: The Collapsed / Cert: 15 / Director: Justin McConnell / Screenplay: Justin McConnell / Starring: John Fantasia, Steve Vieria, Anna Ross, Lise Moule / Release Date: Out Now
Well whaddya know; the world’s only gone and ended again. But this time it’s not an alien invasion, zombie apocalypse or lethal killer virus, this time it’s… well, that’d not only be telling, it’d ruin the twist-in-the-tale ending to this surprisingly-diverting little movie which dares to go where too many recent movies have gone before but at least manages to take something vaguely new with it.
Filmed in a Canadian forest and looking as if it was funded with loose change found in the foot well of someone’s car, The Collapsed sees the all-American Weaver family (led by John Fantasia as Scott - I’d kill for a surname like Fantasia) fleeing some unspecified apocalyptic event which has left cities burning and dead bodies sprawled in the streets (the film’s only real money sequence). The Weavers set off across the country to reach the family’s other son who lives in the charmingly-named Dover’s Bend. It seems that other survivors can’t be trusted; the family flee an unlooted store before they can stock up on supplies when a surly-looking gang arrives on the scene. For the rest of the time the family wander through crackling woodlands as something mysterious and eerie stalks them, its unearthly howl echoing around the forest as it appears to close in on them.
The Collapsed surprises its audience fairly quickly - to reveal exactly how would be a spoiler of major proportions. But we’re rapidly wrong-footed and the film keeps us in the dark right until the end about what catastrophe has actually befallen Mankind this time and even when we find out the explanation isn’t especially clear or satisfactory and leaves too many questions unanswered.
The Collapsed is actually more of a psychological horror story than a gutsy post-apocalypse adventure but it’s sadly let down by half-hearted performances and characters who are really pretty unlikable and uninteresting. John Fantasia may well have a great surname but he doesn’t give Scott Weaver much in the way of a personality; he doesn’t seem hugely perturbed when terrible things happen (which they do) and there’s not really much chemistry between him and the rest of his family. One or two of the characters get to do really stupid things too. Weaver girl Rebecca (Ross), having escaped a desperate flight through the woods, decides a bit later that now’s the time to wander off on her own to the nearby river and… shave her legs? Meanwhile the forest is alive with the strange howling sound of… well, whatever it is that’s out there.
And in the end it’s what’s out there that makes The Collapsed worth your time. The film’s ending isn’t cosy, it’s not especially upbeat and in some ways it doesn’t make a lot of sense. But it’s striking, unusual and even a bit chilling. The world’s had better, bigger budget endings, of course, but The Collapsed is an interesting addition to the apocalyptic archive and, at about seventy minutes, it won’t take up too much of your time.
Special Features: the American DVD release boasts commentaries, a long ‘making of’ featurette and a music video. UK types get nothing. Boo.