I want to begin this piece by extending an apology to the Best Picture-winning Crash for any hyperbolic statement that might have suggested prestige-chasing dramas can’t get much worse. For I had not seen Collide, now streaming on Hulu (and not to be confused with the Nicholas Hoult vehicle of the same name), and could not have known the error of my ways. The “we’re all connected” movie has hit a new nadir all these years after we thought it had been left for dead. I have been in actual car crashes less painful than watching this movie.
COLLIDE: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
The Gist: Collide, an aptly named Los Angeles restaurant, plays home to a number of stories reaching the point of, ahem, collision. Peter (Jim Gaffigan) creeps in the car doing a pathetic stakeout while his wife Angie (Drea de Matteo) hits on the manager. Hunter (Ryan Phillippe) shows up for a blind date with Tamira (Kat Graham), a South African ex-pat who has explosive plans in store for her planned dinner companion. Lily (Aisha Dee) wants to provide for the child growing inside her and sees potential with her lover and fellow employee Zee (Dylan Flashner), who’s found a large amount of cocaine he intends to sell to a gangster. On one fateful night, their fates intertwine.
What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: Any of the “hyperlink cinema” movies of the early 2000s — think Traffic, Amores Perros, Syriana, Rendition — is what Collide is striving (and failing) to achieve. One must wonder if, given their shared casting of Ryan Phillippe, the film exists in the shared Crash cinematic universe.
Performance Worth Watching: With respect to everyone who showed up on set and tried their best, there is no one who comes out of this looking good. No one, not even Jim Gaffigan, from whom it’s most tempting to grant some grace given that he’s trying something different. But in fairness to the performers, I doubt even an Oscar-winning thespian could make this painfully obvious dialogue sound believable.
Memorable Dialogue: Tamira delivers this monologue to explain her character’s motivations midway through the film, and it’s memorable for all the wrong reasons: “Did you really think you could get away with it? All you whites? Do you just run away and pretend like it didn’t happen? That it isn’t still happening? Every day? Here in America? South Africa … did you think I would never find you?”
Sex and Skin: The only skin you’re seeing here is the inside of your hand when another painfully obvious line or plot point makes you facepalm.
Our Take: Filmmaker Mukunda Michael Dewil showed with 2022’s The Immaculate Room that he’s plenty capable of producing passable entertainment. Collide misses even that low bar. The screenplay, which comes out to little more than several student shorts whose pages got mixed up together, is an absolute wreck. When it needs to underscore an emotional beat, scoring with all the sophistication of a temp track comes in to tell you exactly what the film wants you to feel. The cinematography is jittery, jumpy, and nonsensical — and apparently, they could not find money in the budget for a single tripod. The camerawork does not show the most basic proficiency with staging something like a car crash, and that’s not even to say anything about the jaw-droppingly painful lo-fi visual effects. Having a low budget does not a bad movie make, but there are amateur TikToks made with more attention to craft and form than Collide.
Our Call: Str—just kidding, SKIP IT! Unless you are a masochist and want to observe how not to make a movie, you can feel safe in skipping Collide. It’s your life, and you can’t get these 90 minutes back.
Marshall Shaffer is a New York-based freelance film journalist. In addition to Decider, his work has also appeared on Slashfilm, Slant, Little White Lies and many other outlets. Some day soon, everyone will realize how right he is about Spring Breakers.