HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Monday, December 28, 2015

THE ABANDONED (2015) -- Movie Review by Porfle

A young, down-on-her-luck woman named "Streak" (Louisa Krause, MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE) gets a job as a security guard in a massive, creepy, shadowy old Gothic-looking building in the heart of the city in THE ABANDONED (2015).

It's the graveyard shift, of course, and the building's creepiness factor is through it's own roof.  So naturally, when Streak discovers a mysterious labyrinth of ominous, dimly-lit passageways hidden behind a locked iron door in the basement, a door she's told she isn't supposed to enter, the first thing she does is break the lock and start wandering around down there. 

As she makes her way deeper and deeper into this moldering maze of dark hallways, I'm thinking "What the hell is she doing there?"  Streak just seems a little too willing to instantly start blundering into the scariest parts of the building right off the bat. 

Personally, I wouldn't begin a thorough, curiosity-satisfying exploration of such areas until at least, oh, never.  But we're supposed to believe that this sensitive, wounded woman--whom we know is seriously troubled and on some kind of mental medication while struggling to maintain custody of her daughter--has the steel nerves of a Van Helsing, or at least a Karl Kolchak.

True, people in scary movies are supposed to do dumb things, but it would've helped if she'd had a more compelling reason to be wandering around in the middle of perhaps the creepiest spot in the entire state besides a sudden curiosity.

And when REALLY scary things started happening, things that would have me climbing the walls in sheer, gibbering terror, I kept thinking "Why isn't she freaking out?"

Anyway, these scenes can't help but generate some chills, especially when there's a loud jump scare every few minutes or so.  And thanks to Streak's current mental state, we're never quite sure if those fleeting, misshapen figures in the shadows beyond her flashlight are real or imagined.  What she eventually discovers (which I won't go into because, well, spoilers) is meant to be terrifying although it never really quite did it for me.

Streak's co-worker, Cooper (Jason Patric, THE LOST BOYS, WALKER PAYNE), is a jaded old-timer in the job who prefers to sit behind the monitor screens and watch rather than rush into danger (which he'll end up having to do, of course).  Patric has matured into a really solid character actor since I first saw him in the 80s, and much of the film's success is thanks to his performance. 

Louisa Krause does what she can with her sketchy character, which involves a lot of screaming and crying before it's over.  As a homeless guy who begs to be let into the building to pass the cold night, iconic actor Mark Margolis (SCARFACE, BLACK SWAN) is on hand to make us wonder whether or not he's behind any of the weird stuff that's going on.

Before it's over, THE ABANDONED piles on the weird stuff with a vengeance, and some of it can't help but be rather spooky.  But it takes a certain finesse for a movie like this to really scare me, and it's lacking here.  The story does take a surprising turn at the end, however, and it's almost enough to make some sense of what just happened even as it leaves us scratching our heads after the fadeout.


No comments: