I promise — our theme this month is “Netflix Halloween,” not “Netflix Movies Set In Mines,” but since Mine Games proved to be something of a pleasant-enough surprise, I figured that director Jeff Chamberlain’s 2012 filmed-in-Utah effort, Abandoned Mine (also released under the even-more-uninspired title of The Mine) might possibly be worth a look, as well.
I’ll just cut right to the chase here and say that I was wrong. And now my job is to tell you both why I was wrong and just how wrong I was.
So, it’s Halloween night, and five friends (Reiley McClendon as Brad, Adam Hendershott as Jimmy, Alexa Vega as Sharon, Saige Thompson as Laurie, and Charan Prabhakar as Ethan) are all hanging out near the old Jarvis Mine, boozing and swapping ghost stories at this supposedly haunted locale. After they get a few in ’em, they decide what the hey? Let’s go inside.
Oh, and once inside, one of the group of one-note ciphers — sorry, I mean characters — fills the others in on what happened there exactly (yawn) 100 years ago that very night. And, hey, it all might be happening again, ‘cuz remember, the place is haunted.
Are you bored yet? If you were watching this instead of reading about it, I can assure you with absolute and complete certainty that you would be. Honestly, Abandoned Mine is so completely derivative and cliched that it almost doesn’t feel fair to even criticize it because it’s just too easy a target. The phrase “fish in a barrel” comes to mind.
Shit, Chamberlain and co-writer Scott Woldman’s script doesn’t even go to the effort of trying to fool you into thinking that there’s anything other than the absolutely predictable going on here, and the cast appears to have picked up on this cynical and taciturn approach and collectively decided to mail in their performances. Not exactly inspiring stuff, to say the least.
If it feels like I’m half-assing this review and cutting things short, that’s because I am. Guilty as charged. Guilty as sin. Guilty as O.J. fucking Simpson. Having already wasted nearly an hour and a half of my life on this pablum, I refuse to spend any more time even thinking about it, much less actually discussing it, than is absolutely necessary. My conscience compels me to express to you, dear reader, the burning, overwhelming need stay the hell away from Abandoned Mine — and to do so in the strongest possible terms — but beyond that, man, I’m through with this thing.
I can live with its complete lack of gore. I can live without its complete lack of originality. I can even live, in a tight pinch, with its complete lack of scares. What I can’t live with is its complete lack of effort — nor can I be bothered with putting any of same into this review, which is probably the single-worst thing I’ve ever written. But hey — Abandoned Mine deserves no less. Or maybe that should be “deserves no more.” Whatever. Either way you want to put it (or, to be more accurate, either way you want to have me put it), I suppose the sentiment remains the same.