Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Collapsed (DVD Review)

DVD Review of the post apocalyptic thriller The Collapsed written & directed by Justin McConnell, starring John Fantasia, Steven Vieira, Lise Moule and Anna Ross

Image Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment

Writer/Dir: Justin McConnell (Working Class Rock Star)
Cast: John Fantasia, Steven Vieira, Lise Moule, Anna Ross, Kassandra Santos, Stefano Gallo Vincnt Thomas, Neil Green, Rick Cordeiro
Canada, 2011

Reason to see: I’m so excited to see this one out in DVD as it did have a limited release here in Toronto last year but sadly I missed it. But, no more tears on that idea as now it’s available for all to enjoy!

The Collapsed is a post-apocalyptic film that follows a family trying to survive in the shambles of the end of the world. It has a strong survivalist drama tone with interesting character dynamics that create engaging tension within the family and they try to move on and through this world that has suffered some kind of catastrophe.

One of the things I really liked about The Collapsed was that if was pretty open to interpretation, and doesn’t over tell the story and therefore allows the viewer to really engage in what has happened, what could happen and what will happen. Although we get hints into what has happened in the past not only on a global scale but also between the characters, it still allows for wiggle room to let your mind wonder and think about different possibilities, interpretations and histories. I also really enjoyed John Fantasia who plays the father of the family, and Steve Vieira as also strong as the son Aaron.

I loved that it’s a high-concept film that even though you can tell here and there that it’s lower budget it doesn’t really take you out of the film. It helps that it’s firmly rooted in an intriguing story with solid acting and great locations that are beautifully shot and really make the most of what they have. It really looks fantastic every step of the way plus it makes you think by keeping you engaged and interested every step of the way. I often found myself sitting on that uncomfortable edge of not knowing quite where it was going, and that mystery of not knowing kept my unnerved and tense for a lot of the film. I love how it wove in the creep factor with the post-apocalyptic factors together, and it really kept me thinking the whole way through. It’s definitely a film to see for post-apocalyptic film and thriller film fans, as well as people who enjoy the human drama of survivalist film. The Collapsed is very engaging and a great, tense watch.

See also my Vlog review of The Collapsed here.

DVD Extras:
  • 2 Feature Commentaries: 1 commentary with director/writer/producer Justin McConnell & co-producer/co-story/art director Kevin Hutchinson and 1 commentary with actor John Fantasia who plays Scott Weaver. On the Justin McConnell & Kevin Hutchinson commentary they chat about everything from locations for filming, shooting order, a lot about chatting about making a low budget film and making it work with limited resources and creative solutions. It's a very enthusiastic commentary with which shares a lot of the unusual challenges including how long things took, information on the guns in the film, plus provides explanation/background on some scenes that had me at scratching my head moments as well as things I completely missed which was really cool. There is also commentary on reactions to the films and their reactions and the reviews, which I always find interesting (although kind of unnerving being a reviewer!), as well as some commentaries on spoilers too. Really cool to hear their perspective and the impact of spoilers. Of course the commentary is very spoiler-filled, but I think with all commentaries the expectation is that you can, will and should watch the film first - and you should because the film is great. On the John Fantasia commentary he discusses preparation for the film including including the read through, things he had to learn for the film, telling the story of the film of what's happening and what his characters story, what he was thinking as well as reacting to the other characters. It's interesting to see the character from purely his perspective, you can really tell he felt the character as he say 'my son, my wife, my daughter' and a lot about his character and bringing humanity to his character. When he's not talking the sound of the film comes back in which is cool, especially as the audio quality of this commentary isn't perfect, but even when talking it maintains a low level so you can get the gist of what's going on. It's funny to see which are the same stories he tells that are or aren't on the other commentary, really shows what sticks in the mind.
  • Apocalypse on a Budget - The Making of The Collapsed (70 minutes) behind the scenes, shooting,film footage and interviews with director/writer/producer Justin McConnell and co-producer/co-story/art director Kevin Hutchinson on how they met each other, their previous work together and the idea behind creating The Collapsed and all the many hats the wore and jobs they filled during the process of making the film. Lots of discussion on working with and through the challenges of locations and time constraints, including solutions and choices made to make it work (they go day-by-day of shooting with the challenges); plus chatting with actors including John Fantasia, Steven Vieira, Lise Moule and Anna Ross on their characters, reactions to the script, preparation for their roles; key grip/gaffer/swing Frank Dobilas, and director of photography Pasha Patriki, special effect supervisor Geoff Hill on set and discussing setting up shots; plus footage from audition tapes, table reads, make-up, raw footage, gun training, several deleted shots and some awesome total sidebar chatting about odd hypothetical situations with the cast and crew - really funny stuff.
  • Music Video - Rob Kleiner "Devil in Disguise" (2 minutes) movie-tie in video directed by Mike Hickey, edited by Justin McConnell
  • Original Score Jukebox & Free Album Download
  • TV Segments (3 segments, 9 minutes) Space TV's Innerspace (2 minutes) , Naked News 'Nake at the Movies (4 minutes) and G4TV 'Electric Playground' (2 minutes)
  • Trailers - teaser trailer & official trailer
  • Cast & Crew Bios
  • Artwork & Photo Gallery - official poster, pre-production teaser art, stills, festival, convention and theatrical release pictures
The Collapsed is available on DVD as of June 5, 2012. Check it out over at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'd watch it again
I strongly recommend it to thriller, horror and post-apocalyptic film fans; and drama film fans too as there are very interesting characters to enjoy

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© Shannon Ridler, 2012

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