Tyler Clarke is on the red-eye to New York City. Two days ago she received a cryptic voice-mail from her sister Jessica. She was asking for help but she didn’t say why. And now that Tyler has come to the city to help her, Jessica is nowhere to be found. In order to find out what has happened, Tyler must delve into a world of darkness and lies, the underbelly of a spiritually depraved community living in a deconsecrated cathedral. They call themselves “The Collective.” And Jessica is one of them. Tyler is forced to ask the ultimate question, is she ready to risk her own life to save her sister’s?
Tyler (Kelly Overton) receives an estranged call from her distant sister Jessica to come to here aid. Upon arriving in New York, she discovers that her sister Jess has more or less disappeared from her usual way of life absent from friends, her workplace and all her former associates. Tyler determined, sets out to discover where her sister has gone in fear that she might be in trouble. Strangely enough she is contacted by friends of Jess that insist she is ok and no assistance is needed. What transpires is a discovery that her sister has become involved with a group called the Collective that are intent on maintaining there secrets. They gather in a local cathedral (owend by the group) where they practice different means of spiritual awakening led by leader Rost (Donnie Keshawarz). As Tyler discovers more about the group she realizes that her sister is indeed in a cult-like situation where she is determined to save her sister at the risk of her own life. A plot, an adventure and a unique story make up this film called the Collective.
We are never really given the extent of what the Collective entails, just that it is based on heightened spirituality to the point of mental transformation. Which also suggests it’s potential to grow into something bigger. Through a series of flashbacks, we learn that the group has stumbled onto a state of being that induces an a trance-like state. We also learn that the group is resonsible for a recent death.
Kelly Overton who also happens to be co-writer and co-director does a great job in her role as Tyler Clarke, Not to mention her first time co-directing combined with Judsons multi-talents. Her performance with her co-actors comes across as very natural and easy to relate to.
Director Judson Pearce Morgan who is also the writer, editor and composer does a phenomenal job at creating a highly captivating piece of film work that is both intellectual and visually compelling. What is striking right away is his sense of compositional choices combined with editing finesse that moves the scene from one portion to another. We are entertained with time lapse shots, jump cuts and interesting transitions but not to the point of being annoying. They actually work with the story and work quite well for that matter.
The visual dynamics of this film is quite amazing and is highly elevated for an independent release. In fact even in its static shots, the camera never really stops moving. This technique and care makes the collective a fantastic film to watch. As the film progresses, so does this style as well. The editing style is comparable to one of my fav directors Tony Scott. Though Judson seems to have mastered his own approach to this as well.
It would be an oversight not to mention how well the score to this film is composed. It could easily stand as a product on its own though when combined with the visuals it makes for a sold piece of work. Highly recommended.
All in all – I’m sure there will be much more dynamic work in store for us from this talented group in the future.
The Collective (2008)