Monday, June 13, 2016

Film Review: The Abandoned (2015)

The Abandoned (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"There isn't anything here that really leaves an impression."

Julia Streak (Louisa Krause), an unhinged young woman, takes the graveyard shift as a security guard at an abandoned apartment complex...

The Abandoned is a clich̩ horror film. The story follows Julia Streak, who has to take anti-psychotic pills to function Рhint, hint. She arrives at the complex where she meets her snarky partner, Cooper (Jason Patric). The pair don't hit it off, but they tolerate each other. They spend the night talking and patrolling the building. Eventually, Julia begins to believe something is afoot in the building. Although Cooper dismisses her concerns as delusions, Julia refuses and proceeds to investigate. Basically, Julia does everything she's told not to do. There isn't much to discuss in terms of the narrative. It doesn't surprise due to some heavy-handed hints and a reliance on clich̩s of the past. (What's the first thing you think of when you see pills in a horror movie?) It all leads to an underwhelming ending.

The Abandoned is another disappointing horror film. As I've already stated, the story is predictable and uninspired. The film relies heavily on the main character's ignorance. This is one of those films where the main character does everything she shouldn't do just to keep the story moving. In other words, it's contrived. The characters are also forgettable, lacking in personality and spunk – for lack of a better word. There are some interesting tidbits here and I like what the film was trying to do, but it does not succeed. In terms of horror, there is some suspense and there are some surprisingly creepy visuals, but it mostly relies on jump scares. Like the plot, the jump scares aren't very creative. It's just your basic loud noise that comes from out of nowhere. I could see a lot of promise in the film – obviously I watched it from beginning to end – but it simply falls short.

Louisa Krause was serviceable during most of her performance. Unfortunately, she also sounds uninspired during some of the more demanding scenes. She lacks conviction and emotion when she speaks. So, she can deliver lines, sure, but she often sounds unnatural. Jason Patric performs better, but his performance is limited by his snarky character. The cinematography is okay. The lighting can often be too dark, but it won't make you squint too much. The music was decent, too. The film is written by Ido Fluk and directed by Eytan Rockaway. The writing wasn't bad, but it wasn't very daring. The same goes for the direction. The film is competently made, but it doesn’t leave an impression due to the generic path it walks.

Overall, The Abandoned is a mediocre horror film. There are a few interesting scenes and some creepy visuals, but not nearly enough to justify a 80 or so minute runtime – without credits. There isn't anything here that really leaves an impression. If you've watched plenty of horror movies in the past few years, you've probably seen this one in one form or another. If you'd like something similar but with better execution, try out Last Shift. I'd only recommend a stream for this.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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