Over the last couple of years we’ve seen Jabb Pictures become a force on the independent horror scene with their collections of shorts simply known as “The Collective”. Considering I’ve felt for years that there have never really been any unique and interesting ways to package short films for genre fans, it’s been a blessing for many filmmakers of the independent kind. Outside of film festivals there really weren’t a whole lot of ways to watch short films. Now sure, you could go on Youtube and find a ton of them, but I’ve never been big on watching stuff on my computer and I know a lot of other fans that have the same attitude as me. Now that’s been changed with the introduction of “The Collective” and it all seems to be rolling downhill with its momentum as this is the third volume in the series. If you are unfamiliar with “The Collective” series, you’ll want to know that it’s a collection of shorts films (that are all at least 10 minutes apiece in their running time) that all have a basic theme in common. This time it was “10 minutes to die” and each and every filmmaker (except for Jabb Pictures Jason Hoover) are of the female variety. Let’s take a look, shall we?
The first short that we have here is not only one of the more impressive of the bunch, but it’s the one short that features the most in the way of star power. Featuring Kevin Van Hentenryck (Duane from cult director Frank Henenlotter’s Basket Case movies) and Steve Dash (Jason in Friday the 13th Part II and Night Hawks) “Conclusion” features four people placed in a medical facility in which there is only one way out. Each of them had strange circumstances in their lives that disturbed each of them and they are all forced to confront it. Strange in nature and disturbing in execution, “Conclusion” is a pretty exceptional short film. The name actors do a great job here as do the other players who you may not be that familiar with. There’s an older woman in the group played by Goldie Zwiebel that has a lasting impression as well. Overall this one is a winner and a more than welcome addition into the world of “The Collective”.
Second up in “The Collective Volume 3” was Home Security, written and directed by Kate Chaplin brings us to a man walking around a neighborhood trying to sell home security systems to anyone who will listen to him. As people slam doors in his face and him they aren’t interested, he works with his coworkers on breaking into the homes and scaring the owners into purchasing their security systems. This time around he may have bitten off a bit more than he can chew. Certainly “Home Security” has been done before, but here I thought it was done extremely well. There are a few plot devices here that provide a few twists but this one is pretty straightforward for the most part. It’s not going to reshape the world, but I found it to be a solid entry into the short film series.
Next up was “Stay” which will immediately have independent film fans attention as soon as it starts because they’ll recognize the “Toe Tag Pictures” logo that appears on screen. That’s right, “Stay” was brought to you by the same minds that gave the world the “August Underground” series as well as “The Redsin Tower”, although this time around it’s Shelby Vogel getting in on the act. Stay is the story of a relationship gone wrong and opens with a woman being beraided by her husband/boyfriend. It’s a disturbing relationship to say the least and it’s a pretty powerful exhibition overall. My only complaint about it is that it felt a bit too short and even like it was supposed to be something more, as a lot was left in the open. Now it was very well executed, but it just felt like something else was missing to me. Personally I would’ve liked to have more backstory on the whole distructive relationship here, but in a ten minute short, you simply just aren’t going to have that. But with all that being said “Stay” is one of the more solid entries in “The Collective Volume 3”.
Without a doubt the best and most
effective film in “The Collective Volume 3” has to be Amy Carmical’s entry “The
Pact”. From the mesmerizing beginning to
the follow through I was taken in by this one.
“The Pact” is incredibly haunting, well shot, and just overall a
powerful short film that will stick in your mind well after you’ve seen it. Especially in this day and age of a hefty
amount of media coverage shown to teenage suicides and bullying, this short is
clearly reflecting the society that we currently live in, in America. Something else that impressed me about this
one was all that it had managed to say in about 10 minutes. Personally I find short films to be either
too artsy or restrictive for my taste, but “The Pact” shows that isn’t always
correct when coming to a short film.
For me, out of all of the short films in “The Collective Volume 3” I personally felt as if “The Key” was the weakest entry here. The reason isn’t necessarily because it was made poorly, I just thought it didn’t work as well as other entries with the time allotted. Frankly it would’ve worked a bit better if it were about 30 minutes or so. The short just felt incomplete to me and it felt more like I was just watching a portion of something and because of that it just seemed to be missing something. The short is based around Sophie, a woman who’s sitting on a bench at the park talking with her grandfather attempting to get some questions answered. Of course, it’s all wrapped up in a neat little package, but it just feels like there were a good 10 minutes or so that we (as the viewer) missed. It’s not terrible, but it’s just nowhere near the strongest short in “The Collective Volume 3”.
One thing needs to be said about
“Suffer Well” before I get into details and that it’s one hell of an impressive
looking short film. I don’t wanna say
that it’s style over substance (especially because it’s a short film, how much
substance could there possibly be anyway?) but that’s probably the easiest way
for me to explain it. From the first
frame that appears on screen you’ll find yourself at least curious as to what
the hell it is you’re watching. It
manages to hold your attention throughout weather you understand it or
not. Written and directed by Robbin
Panet, it’s a unique and interesting short to say the least. Not only do I think it’s good, but I think it
rightfully deserves it’s place here with other ladies involved in the genre,
but it deserves the attention that I think it’ll get from being included in
“The Collective” series.
He Who Watches
Out of all of the shorts included
here, I have to say that I was extremely impressed with “He Who Watches”
especially because of what it conveys with the time given. It honestly manages to tell a story with a
beginning, middle, and an end. Now this
is a bit unconventional for a short film (at least in the traditional sense)
but Kylee Wall did a great job with the way she wrote this one. It’s all about Laura, who has recently been
diagnosed with an incurable disease. As
this occurs, she seemingly has issues with several events in her past as well
as a unknown figure. Of course this one
isn’t perfect, but it manages to be an effective little thriller.
Out of all of the shorts in “The
Collective Volume 3” “Snapped” is the one that uses it’s central theme in the
most conventional way. It’s actually a
minute for minute account of a woman finding out that her man has been fooling
around behind his back. This shows the
time span of about 8 minutes you see the entire thing transpire and it’s quite
the cool approach. It might be what you
think of when you first think of the “10 minutes to die” theme here, but I
found the simple approach used to be an effective one. Something else that struck me as special
about this one was how unlike most short films, this one is actually all
centered around dialog. It’s all spelled
out and layed out in front of you and it works.
Overall, this one is a just a big solid job well done.
One thing I love about the horror genre and the films that it turns out is that sometimes things are just not spelled out for you. I find that to be one of the most effective and creepy tools of a horror filmmaker/writer. So after I watched “Jog” I have to say that overall I really enjoyed it and was pretty impressed as well. The short starts out with a jogger heading out of the house for a run, pretty simple right? But then the jog goes from normal to abnormally insane in a short period of time. As Uni (the jogger that you witness running around in first person….so you are in turn the jogger) starts to see creepy images you are left wondering what’s happening and weather or not what you’re seeing is actually real. Not only that but what you end up with is a stylishly shot, suspenseful short film that works incredibly well. Frankly, I’d say that this is some of the best usage of time that I’ve seen in a short film period. Not a second of time is wasted here and you’ll find yourself almost wanting to watch it again almost immediately. This to me is the mark of an excellent short film (and that’s coming from someone who isn’t too keen on shorts in general).
Overall I have to say that I found
“The Collective Volume 3” to be quite the collection of short films. Now I’ve been the type of person who isn’t
really the biggest fan of the short film, but I think the way they’re presented
in “The Collective” might be the most interesting and entertaining presentation
of the short film that I’ve ever seen. I
remember attending conventions years ago and noticed filmmakers trying to sell
their short film for $10 or so, on DVD-r.
I was never a fan of that and honestly woundn’t spend the money to watch
them. But after hearing of “The
Collective” (There are two prior volumes that are worth checking out too) and
the idea behind it, I thought that someone had actually found a cool way to
present short films on DVD that would actually make me consider buying it. It’s a nice way to sit there and watch shorts
as it’s basically like a short film festival that you can have in your own
living room. I say kudos to Jason
Hoover, Jabb Pictures, and all of the ladies involved in creating these because
it’s a job well done. RECOMMENDED.
Rating - ***