You’ll Be Tempted To Leave This Film Among “The Abandoned,” But —

Posted: June 18, 2016 in movies
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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Question of the day : can an 86-minute movie totally redeem itself in the last 10 minutes? I confess I don’t know the answer myself, but director Eytan Rockaway’s 2015  indie horror The Abandoned (which played the horror film festival circuit, and even “enjoyed” a very limited theatrical run last year, under its original title, The Confines, before undergoing a name-change for Blu-ray/DVD and streaming service release via IFC Midnight) certainly comes pretty close. It gathers up a few too many strikes against it in the early going to completely pull its metaphorical fat out of the fire, it’s true, but if you do decide to stick it out to the end, you’ll at least give yourself the opportunity to see the best part, and who knows? Maybe you won’t walk away from it feeling your time was completely wasted.

I gave Rockaway’s obviously-low-budget little opus a go on Netflix last night (hence the conspicuous lack of information in this review regarding the film’s physical-storage specs), and really only kept going beyond the first 30 minutes out of sheer, bloody-minded stubbornness, but it’s just as well I did because now I have an excuse not only to review it, but to give it something of a middling recommendation (albeit one loaded with caveats). The problem, though — as I’m sure is already apparent — is that you have to wade through a awful lot of boring, cliched crap to get to the good stuff.

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Here, then, are the story particulars : a mentally disturbed young lady known only as “Streak” (played by Louisa Krause) is attempting to put her life back together after an unspecified breakdown of some sort and does what anyone in her position would do, I suppose — takes a job as a third-shift security guard at a creepy-ass, cavernous, dilapidated,  abandoned building. Her co-worker, Cooper (waitaminit, isn’t that —? Holy shit, yes, it’s Jason Patric!), is pretty much the biggest a-hole you’ll ever meet in your life, literally devoid of anything even resembling a single redeeming quality, but when Streak decides to allow a homeless man named Jim (Mark Margolis), who’s trying to find shelter from an apparently-vicious storm, access to one of the rooms under her charge, all hell breaks loose as she’s confronted with a nightmarish series of visions — or are they memories? — that threaten to once again send her completely over the brink.

If this sounds like a road you’ve been down before, that’s because it is. There’s literally nothing new on offer here and every sad, old horror trope is paraded in front of your eyes with no regard for your continued sanity, much less that of our hapless protagonist. It all seems terribly shrill, unimaginative, and even condescending. Do Rockaway and his screenwriter, Ido Fluk, think we’re all suckers, or what?

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It would certainly seem that they do, but as Cooper slowly begins to do a 180 and threaten to become likable, you start to think that maybe something else might be going on here — and the film’s rapid-fire final act shows that to indeed be the case. I can’t say much more without incurring the wrath of the “spoiler police,” but I will go so far as to state that if you ever wondered what would happen if an otherwise-lackluster horror flick decided to pull a twisted version of the ending to The Wizard Of Oz out from somewhere deep up its own ass, well — congratulations, you need not search any further for your answer. I literally don’t know where this idea came from, but damned if it doesn’t work — and work very well, at that.

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Unfortunately, it’s really the only thing about The Abandoned that does. Both Patric and Margolis do serviceable enough work in their supporting roles, I suppose, but Krause has a long way to go before she can carry a film, and Rockaway’s visual style is very much “standard-issue modern horror.” This is a film that has absolutely nothing to recommend in its favor from start to nearly finish — but its completely unexpected, whacked-out finale is just about enough to save it.

Comments
  1. Ryan C. (trashfilmguru) says:

    Reblogged this on Through the Shattered Lens.

    • Ryan C. (trashfilmguru) says:

      Didn’t like the movie — loved the ending. Not even sure how to review something like that, but I gave it my best shot.

  2. Victor De Leon says:

    Hmm…don’t know if I wanna wade thru boring and cliched crap…at least not tonight 😉

    • Ryan C. (trashfilmguru) says:

      No, you definitely have to be in the right mood to tolerate a bunch of nonsense before you get to the good stuff!

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