Take a terrifying plunge into the warped mind of a disturbed young woman. Desperate to get her life back on track, the unstable Streak takes a job as a security guard, working the graveyard shift at a once upscale, now abandoned apartment complex. But on her first night on duty, she discovers a horrifying presence lurking deep within the bowels of the decaying building. With her nerves already on edge, Streak must confront demons both real and imagined as she struggles to keep a grip on her sanity.
I figured I would be sitting down to a pretty generic haunting flick when I first started watching The Abandoned in the early hours of the morning. I was wrong. The movie, directed by Eytan Rockaway, is a very above average ghost story that kept me entertained all the way though until (just before) the end. Now, I hate spoilers just as much as the next guy, but I’m going to have give a little something away here if I am to accurately explain why this movie ultimately disappointed me. I’ll keep them light, but if you are the type (like me) that hates knowing too much about a film before watching it, read no further.
Now that I have my little disclaimer out of the way, let’s talk The Abandoned. Louisa Krause plays Streak, our protagonist. Streak is starting her first night working as a security guard in a lavish apartment complex left empty due to the recession. She is desperate for work so that she will be able to afford to keep custody of her child (who we never meet). Streak has some sort of psychological issue and occasionally needs to pop a couple of pills to keep her steady. Co-staring is Jason Patric, playing the disgruntled and disparaging Cooper. Cooper is the veteran guard given the arduous task of training yet another greenhorn who he is sure won’t last the week. Streak’s soft heart allows a third guest to spend the evening in the apartments; veteran actor and familiar face Mark Margolis, playing the homeless Jim. What our entourage of occupants fail to realize is that while there may be a large storm approaching outside, it doesn’t compare with the tempest of terror that awaits them within.
If nothing else, The Abandoned is technically sound. Everything from the sleek cinematography to the eerie sound design is spot on. The film has the feel of a big budget release and has the cast and acting to further enforce this. What really kept me watching though was the brilliant character development. Far too often these days we get nothing but stereotypes. With a limited budget and a short runtime, it is far easier to simply typecast a character and skip all that annoying dialog and well written backstory. Easier, but not better. What The Abandoned did right was it’s characters. Cooper’s douchiness subsides and we find out about his disabilities and his daughter. We start caring for Streak and actually worry about her mental health. Jim seems to have some creepy, sadistic side that is both intriguing and disconcerting. It all came together and made for what was a really enjoyable film that unfortunately didn’t follow through.
Ultimately, The Abandoned is little more than a runner that trips and fall right before the finish line. The plot holes start to widen as the film progresses and the creepy child-ghost-things can only scare you so many times. All that character progression and tension sort of just evaporates and is replaced with cliches and banality. The ending was dreadful and made very little sense; like a poor man’s Shyamalan twist. I probably felt more disappointed than I should have simply because I had really started enjoying the movie and was thinking about how fun writing the review would be. I was left feeling let down and unsatisfied.
Have a look at the trailer below and as always, decide for yourself.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.