The Abandoned, one of After Dark Horrorfest's "Eight Films to Die For" and the only of the series to get a wide theatrical release, arrives on DVD on Tuesday, and while still not an A-grade film, those who like strange, psychological and confusing horror should find something to sink their teeth into.
The movie stars Anastasia Hille as Marie Jones, an adopted woman who returns to her homeland Russia in search of her parents. Documents lead her to an abandoned house in the middle of the woods (surprise, surprise), where strange and mysterious things begin to happen. Aside from seeing a dead version of herself, she runs into a man who claims he is her long lost brother (played by Karel Roden), who for some reason has shown up at the exact same time. As the visions intensify and the mystery deepens, Marie begins to suspect that the past is finally catching up to bite her in the ass.
I started watching The Abandoned at 2:30 in the morning, so I can't say I was exactly in tune with the film at all times, but it is effective at developing atmosphere and offering up some creepy moments. The main characters' actions don't always make sense, and a little more back story could have helped, but director Nacho Cerda dives right in, and I like that, too. The film certainly has its spooky moments, but as it progresses it gets weirder and weirder, which some people will like and some won't. One friend who watched the film found it too confusing (read: it doesn't make any sense), while I liked the rather twisted nature of the ending. Again, I was a bit tired by the time this film came to an end so I can't say for certain, but it is quite possible the movie really doesn't make any sense. Still, the horror genre is one genre that can actually pull something like that off.
The acting is pretty decent. Unknown Hille is pretty good in the lead, and Roden, who you'll recognize as the Russian villain from The Bourne Supremacy, among other things, is also quite good.
The Abandoned isn't a great movie, but it weird enough and spooky enough to warrant a rental.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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