The Collective (2008)

OCTOBER 16, 2008


In theory, a modern version of The Seventh Victim is fine; you have new technologies to use, thousands of batshit religious cults to use as the villain, and just a very different world all together – the possibilities for a filmmaker to “make it his own” are near endless. But The Collective is too damn dull to live up to Lewton’s film (which it apes almost shamelessly at times), and while the post film Q&A explained some of the film’s problems away, it still doesn’t make it very exciting or even interesting.

The director admits that it’s not a horror film (then why submit it to a horror festival?), just a thriller. But it’s not thrilling, at all. At no point during the entire film did I feel like the main character was in any real danger. Halfway or so through the film she is knocked out and brought to the main “bad guy”, but even then their interaction has about as much tension as a PTA meeting. So for 90 minutes you’re not worried about anyone, and not really drawn into the plot (and there isn’t much of one beyond “A girl looks for her sister”) either. You’re just sort of hanging out, watching this girl make phone calls, talk to people she doesn’t really know, and endlessly repeat conversations in her head in order to extend the running time.

Luckily the girl (Kelly Overton) is cute. The director/writer/producer was wise to keep her onscreen as much as possible. Oh wait, Overton IS the director/writer/producer. At least one of them. Her co-director/writer/producer (who also shot, edited, and composed the film – whoa!) is a guy named Judson Pearce Morgan, and despite the snail’s pace and lack of involvement, I give props to both of them for making a truly independent feature film in New York City. And it’s certainly well made; the only problem technically is their insistence on using time-lapse photography every two minutes (you know, when you just watch cars go through an intersection at super speed over the course of a few hours). Plus, in the Q&A, they explained that they were on a tight schedule, and given the guerilla style nature of the production, would sometimes shoot things and figure out what to do with them later. Not exactly the BEST way to make a film, but hey, do what you gotta do. I’ve always been of the opinion that a film should be written BEFORE its shot, instead of after, but what do I know?

So, whatever. It’s one of the few truly independent films they’ve shown in the festival so far, so I feel bad for knocking on it, but I really can’t recommend a thriller in which there are no thrills, and it certainly doesn’t really qualify as a horror movie either. It looks nice and it exists... but that’s about as much as I can honestly say.

What say you?


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