SHORT FILMS CONTRIBUTED BY:
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The Collective, Volume 2 - The Box
is a one-of-a-kind short film collection featuring 10-10 minute short films all based on the same object. The object is seemingly innocent enough, a small cardboard box, around which each filmmaker involved in the collective had to find a unique, interesting and cinematically viable way to incorporate the object into their own 10-minute short film. The resulting films range from simple to intimate, absurd to insane and beyond. This unrated 110-minute collection isn't for the squeamish, but it's definitely for the true fan of ultra-indie horror and fantasy.
- Fertility 2.0 - This intriguing short film weaves together glimpses of horror, sci-fi and fantasy all wrapped around one of the most intimate of human desires - that of parenthood. A young couple face being unable to conceive, a fact that is becoming increasingly distressing for our young woman while it seems our young man would be just as happy adopting. Challenged to do something about it by his increasingly frustrated partner, this young man stumbles across a website offering a unique approach to fertility problems. Yep, you guessed it. Expect the unexpected. Filmed in mood-setting black-and-white, Fertility 2.0 is written and directed by David Ross and stars Brian Boyd, L.E. Bradford, Andie Noir and L.E. Bradford. The film is from Liberty or Death Productions Fertility 2.0 is creepy and effective, a film that leaves lasting images in your brain long after its credits have rolled by.
- Illusion - Illusion is a tale of obsession gone wildly awry. A woman (Michelle Shields) spies a small cardboard box atop a mailbox. It's just sitting there. Why? Even after a man comes up and mails something, the box just sits there. What begins as a seemingly trivial inquiry quickly spirals into a mad obsession that impacts our woman and her boyfriend (JABB's own Jason Hoover). Illusion also seems to begin another "theme," if you will, for this collection as it seemed a good number of the couples within the films were obvious mismatches almost to an absurd degree. In this film, the madness that begins to take control could be as much circumstantial as it is triggered by this not so trivial box. Illusion is created by Red Panic Button Films and comes from young filmmaker Dakota Meyer, who's probably not going to have Heartland knocking on his door anytime soon.
Oh. That's a compliment, by the way. Illusion is chilling in its impact, and Shields gives an unsettling performance as our young woman.
- Snapcase - Snapcase, somewhat to my surprise (as I sit here looking at a painting on my wall called "Dysfunctional Family"), is one of my favorites of The Collective, Part 2. The ensemble cast here is outrageous and humorous in the darkest of ways. Written and directed by Eric Schneider, Snapcase takes the old "ordinary joe goes crazy" theme and spins it like a dreidel upon an ever-increasing number of corpses. The film centers around a seemingly ordinary guy whose woman is one serious nagging b****. When a mysterious package arrives, our ordinary "whipped" joe becomes a major psycho-killer knocking out anyone in his way until he runs across one seriously fucked up family unit not too far removed from the Leatherface gang. The film stars Josh Schneider, Angel Hilts, Travis Rhiner and others. Snapcase also features a rather kick-ass musical accompaniment that fits the mood perfectly but occasionally dominates the action.
- It Crawls Back In - This production from Grue Opus films is directed by Jay Mattingly and centers around yet another "ordinary joe" type character (Bradley Mattingly) who digs up a small box in the woods, takes it home and discovers inside a human body part. He becomes consumed with figuring out the mystery, but by the time he figures it out he may wish he hadn't. This film is one of the collective's more suspenseful offerings, with Mattingly perfectly suited to act out the slow-building chills and thrills. While some of the offerings in the collective feel a tad too short or too lengthy, this offering feels just about right.
- 5 Minutes - If you read this review you will die. If you don't read this review you will die. If you read this review you will die. If you don't read this review you will die. If you read this review you will die. If you don't read this review you will die. If you read this review you will die. If you don't read this review you will die.
Co-written and directed by Jason Hoover, 5 Minutes adds a bit of vengeance to The Collective definitely gets into a bit of overkill on the repetition scale but still manages to be one of the more interesting stories of the collection if you can be patient with it. Hoover and co-writer Bill Hardesty manage to construct an interesting film that feels like part childhood fantasy as a bully gets what he deserves even if it's actually a tad irritating for the audience, as well. While the framework may irritate at times, the production quality is solid here and 5 Minutes definitely has a place in this collective.
- 2 Guys 1 Box - From Susie Does Horror comes 2 Guys 1 Box, a simple yet effective short film featuring a terrific performance from John Link. The film starts off with two men kidnapping a prostitute, who is subjected to all types of brutal torture. When a third arrives, the entire scenario changes into something far greater that has far deeper impact. One of the films with a pretty solid core value, 2 Guys 1 Box is directed by Edward X. Young and stars Young, Sammy Clark, Nancy Rodriguez and, of course, John Link among others. The strength of 2 Guys 1 Box may very well lie in its well developed characters, a remarkable achievement given a mere 10-minute running time for the film.
- Exile - Without question the most powerful and impactful of this collective's short films, Exile was directed by Cameron Scott and involves a man who has been institutionalized for the murder of his family. There's one doctor who believes he's still reachable, and she seemingly spends day after day trying to peel away the layers of trauma and drama that led to the killings. She may regret it.
With Exile, Cameron Scott manages to build both compelling characters and a terrific story contained within the confines of a 10-minute short. It's impossible to not finish the film thinking "I want to spend more time with these characters," no matter how horrifying the situation. Quattro Venti Scott is the production company behind this unforgettable and even heartbreaking film. Dennis Lamka and Michelle Shields are tremendous here, while Shannon Feaster and Jason Stewart also do a great job. Exile definitely is also one of the best of The Collective, Part II.
- Boundry - Written and directed by Jason Hoover, Boundry is yet another winning (if freakishly disturbing) short film about a man (Shannon Feaster) who murders a woman (Michelle Feaster) but, in so doing, manages to piss off yet another killer whose territory he's apparently entered. Who knew that serial killers could be so territorial? Darkly yet beautifully acted, shot and edited, Boundry is filmed in black-and-white, the perfect choice to set a tone deceptively plain against the backdrop of relentless brutality. Tech credits are remarkably solid here, with an excellent original score adding to the impact of the top notch camera work. Truth be told, Boundry is my personal fave from this collective.
- Keepsake - Keepsake comes from So-So Pix. Telling the story of a young man who is released from jail after serving time for the accidental vehicular homicide of a little girl, our young man finds himself haunted by the memory, and possibly more, of the little girl. The film is written and directed by Shannon Feaster, but it's young Sara Bowman (in her film debut) who really leaves the strongest impact here. Having watched Part 2 of The Collective before seeing its predecessor, this film leaves me anxious to see more of Feaster's work.
- Pulse - Yet another entry that has strong potential as a feature film, Pulse takes a time travel theme and takes it in a rather remarkable place considering writer/director Jason Hoover's obvious limits within 10 minutes. Pulse is very much a director's film, a film made better of Hoover's helming the project and the obvious clarity with which he constructed the film. As a filmmaker, it's clear that Hoover knows how to get the maximum result out of even the lowest budget project. It'll be exciting to watch him continue to grow as a filmmaker.
For more information on The Collective, Part 2 - The Box, visit the JABB Pictures website and get a copy of your own. Fans of indie horror or those who simply want to do what you can to support indie filmmakers will definitely want to get ahold of this stellar example of ultra-indie filmmaking.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic