The Collingswood Story ( 2001 ) – Movie Review


The Collingswood Story ( 2001 ) - Movie Review

​I always get excited when I see a movie cover that displays a few movie accolades from indie film festivals. You know the ones – they sort of ‘bracket’ the award on the cover much like the Sundance awards do.

Unfortunately if you look a little closer at these ‘bracketed’ awards you’ll often notice that a lot of these film festivals are near enough unheard of. There were probably no more than 200 people attending dressed up like a Jedi or Freddie Kruger.

The Collingswood Story caught me out – pure and simple! I stumbled across it several years ago and was more than impressed by the amount of accolades it’s cover displayed.

Whilst it’s not exactly a bad film, it’s not exactly a great film either.

For me it felt much like the feeling I had when I finally sat through The Last Broadcast – good…but a little misleading on the critic side of things.

Webcam Horror

The cool thing about The Collingswood Story is that it was the first ( or so I’m led to believe ) Found Footage film to make use of the webcam gimmick.

I’ve seen many using this gimmick since it’s release but I’m reliably informed that this was the first!

If you think back to 2001 you’ll remember that Found Footage was just starting to find it’s feet in Hollywood due to the 1999 release of the genre breaking Blair Witch Project.

So building on a film idea that is based on a webcam situation at that period of time is quite a brave and impressive move. It’s best you keep that in mind for the remainder of the review.

The Plot

The film follows a young couple in love named John and Rebecca. Rebecca has recently left their small Virginia hometown to go to university in Collingswood, NJ.

John is left in the shit-hole town they went to school in so they both decide that they’ll keep their love blossoming through the medium of webcam.

The webcam was actually John’s idea and I couldn’t help but think this was a little bit possessive or creepy – STALKER ALERT!!!

Anyway, the two of them are set up to talk whenever they need to and keep their long distance relationship as strong as possible.

It’s safe to say that John is a ‘bit of a boy’ and it’s not long before he’s providing the love of his life with webcam addresses of individuals that have probably experienced a stay at Arkham Asylum.

One of these nutcases turns out to be a low rent psychic named Vera Madeline. Miss Madeline proceeds to inform Rebecca about the mass Satanic child murders that have taken place in Collingswood.

John starts to get a little bit worried about this new information and rightly so. He does a little digging from his end and finds out that the house Rebecca now lives in was once part of these Satanic events…


I have to be honest the film really isn’t that bad but the accolades I read beforehand really screwed the experience up for me – I was expecting much more!

I don’t really know the idea behind displaying so many awards on movie covers – for me it sort of drives the film in the wrong direction.

Take for example this film – I was aware of it’s awards so I was expecting a unique classic…therefore I was disappointed by the end of it all and wrote this average review.

But on the flip side of the coin maybe it works for indie filmmakers – they get eyes on their movie and they take whatever crap is thrown at them afterwards!

The overall plot is not bad and the acting was believable enough but the low quality webcam cinematography does get a little tiresome at times. If you remember, back in 2001 webcams were not exactly brilliant quality so the film does suffer for that ‘grainy’ feel.

This movie never even gets close to the Top Ten page we have on this site but it does offer something decent to Found Footage fans…

Not bad, but I expected much more!




  1. Thanks for sharing your opinion on this one. Like I said before, it’s something of a personal favorite of mine and a lot of people don’t even know it’s out there.

    • No problems John. It wasn’t a bad film at all but I got thrown off-guard by all the accolades on the front cover. If you like Found footage it’s definitely worth watching ( good ending!!! ).

  2. Being an early entry in the genre and the first to use webcam, as you noted, give some value to it, but i was expecting more too… What bothers me the most is that short kinda video-art sequence that opens the film and then returns afterwards… What’s up with that? Just some random creepy stuff? I don’t know, for me it kinda breaks the found footage feeling/flow… I still prefer The Den when it comes to webcam horror FF… Maybe Unfriended will beat it… Do you expect to review it soon? Take care, Chris [ ]’s

    • Hi Christian,
      Yeah I was pretty confused by the opening sequence myself, seemed a little cheap and ‘scatty’ really. But the film itself isn’t that bad at all – I watched it about 3 times now and it’s entertained me each time. Just a shame they decided to showcase the near enough unheard of awards across the franchise/promotion covers!
      I tried watching Unfriended last week but it was a web-rip version from Japan. This meant that I had Japanese subtitles blocking the actual computer text that was in the film – I couldn’t see what each character was writing! I stopped it after about 5 minutes because I knew I was ruining the experience for myself and I couldn’t review it properly. Hopefully I’ll get hold of a better version this week 🙂

    • Totally agree, the video art segment shouldn’t have been there at all. Looks almost like something I made in Windows Moviemaker 10 years ago. And though The Den is perhaps better developed as far as storyline and the use of web cam goes, I still like this a lot. It has great atmosphere and a good story with a clever attention to details.

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