Everything is happening in this big forest. A young woman is in danger. She has just discovered a strange house, isolated, strange, in which masked men wearing loose jackets come and go carrying big bags plastique…
With the help of her two adventurous friends, she decides to go, equipped with a camera, to investigate these funny actions and to shed light on this disturbing mystery. The situation turns into a nightmare when two of them are captured and held captive in a morbid basement.
This was one of those rare, fortunate opportunities where I was able to go into the film completely blind, having avoided the trailer and synopsis when the screeners were offered and therefore having no preconceived ideas or bias going in. Before I started reviewing films, this was pretty much my modus operandi; grab a random horror DVD from the rental place (remember those?), roll a joint, open a beer and see what lady luck had in store for me. It was often hit or miss, but having no idea what to expect always added that little bit of extra flavor to the evening’s feature.
Abduction 101 opens with a pretty girl monologuing what sounds like some morbid goth poem one would hear in a dive bar on open mic night. Our presumed protagonist is chained up, matted with blood, and struggling half-heartedly. My interest was most definitely not piqued. Enter a pair of (presumably) bad-guys dressed either as quarantine workers at an Ebola outbreak or struggling graffiti artists—either way they’re clearly not making minimum wage. I was starting to wonder if maybe I should have watched the trailer or read the synopsis as to have saved myself a few hours, but lo and behold, there’s a sudden shift in plot that absolutely grabs my attention! Telling you what that was would be spoilery though.
Sure, the film clearly starts in a bizarre, low-budget way—but that’s not always a bad thing, especially when we have some delicious, dark direction to hold our attention. Some of the scenes are unintentionally comical, some weakly performed, some outright obscure…I found myself nonetheless enjoying the experience. The score is often too loud and very 80s, the camera shaky, the dialogue unnatural, sometimes feeling forced. There are a plethora of technical faults one could point out without even bringing up the butt-shots and hot tub scene (not that I’m complaining).
Now, it might sound like I’m purely taking shots and being callously negative; I’m not. I just need to be honest about what you would be getting yourself into when you eventually rent the film—and rent it you should. Whilst not the greatest indie film I’ve had the pleasure of viewing, it’s definitely one of the most unique. The way the story is told is different; the characters felt like real people, the imagination behind the story is very Lovecraftian, and the pace is great—never a dull moment. It’s also, for the most part, unpredictable—partially due to the fact that you have no clue as to what the hell is going on at the start.
Warning: Minor spoilers ahead
The film initially sets itself apart from others of a similar genre—or perhaps it’s better to say that it attempts to elevate itself above its peers—by hinting at some eventual climax involving monstrous Lovecraftian horrors. Sadly, that vision never truly comes to fruition and we are instead left with the ‘possessed’ badies fighting the noble goodies in a very slasher-esque finale. The thing in the pool, the monsters in control, the Big Bad…it just never appears. What we get for a climax is a couple of Breaking Bad costumes wading around in a creek and then a Lara Croft attack at the end with very little “horror.”
I was really rooting for this one; I wanted it to be more than it was. It really had a lot of great elements: The characters, the imagination, the plot, the unique ideas…in the end, unfortunately, it failed to push the envelope. I wanted whatever the creatures were in their bodies, or the ancient one in the pool, to have some greater role in the film aside from simply creating human slaves. I wanted bloody tentacles or bodily transformations or chest-bursting critters—anything but a half-assed fight scene. I think that if the film had gone that extra mile and ventured deeper into cosmic-horror territory, it could have really amassed a healthy little cult following. I can’t, with all the technical faults and such, give it more that two stars.
So…In closing. I went into this one trying to be supportive of my indie fam. I was doe-eyed and keen for some love. The foreplay was great, though very vanilla…then there were heavy promises of something otherworldly! but alas, that ended up being all talk and no action. I’ve often had better. I’ve rarely had worse. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. Trailer and such below.
Available on Amazon here.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.