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The Abandoned

Film Three Stars

The closing of film of the 2007 Dead by Dawn Horror Festival was The Abandoned, a Spanish film which tells the story of an adopted woman who, upon hearing of the death of her parents, returns to the place she grew up in Russia. Once there she goes to the home she grew up in and discovers that the home won't let her leave.

The woman has spent all of her life in America and has forgotten her early years in Russia before she was adopted, and it's when she returns to the house that her memory begins to return. She is taken there by a man who disappears as soon as she arrives. When she walks to the house and enters she meets a man who claims to be there for the same reasons she is.

Soon they discover that they aren't alone in the house, and that the house won't let leave, and all the while it is stepping back in time to the night that they left.

TheAbandoned.jpgIt's a difficult film to review because there are positives as well as negatives, and because the story is not so much confusing, just haphazard and riddled with unanswered questions and plot lines.

Yet that is balanced against some excellent scenes which build suspense and tension extremely effectively, some strong filming, and very good acting, not to mention the fact that the overall story is very good.

The beginning of the film was very good, as the story slowly expanded and the woman, Marie played by Anastasia Hille, arrives in the Russian home. Strange events begin happening that can't be explained and point to something a bit more sinister and supernatural.

It's the arrival of the stranger Nicolai, played by Karel Roden, where the film really begins to move forward. From here we see the supernatural story start to build and the past begin to come back to them.

However it's also here that the story begins to try to do too much. The story is obviously telling us that the house is going back in time, and taking them with it, but visually we don't see enough of it to understand that. It feels as if we should be seeing this happen around them, as the story progresses.

Then there's the plot line that covers their youth, something which is the strongest aspect of the film and provides some of the best visuals and most terrifying moments. It's here where the film really captures you and had me pulled to the edge of my seat.

However the idea that they are being haunted by their own ghosts, just seems to get repetitive and seems to be a break from the main storyline from progressing. It seems to delay them from progressing with finding out what's actually going on or just escaping, and at times it's frustrating.

I shan't go into too many details from here on, but the progression of the story seems to take leaps and starts. Although I always knew where we were it seemed to leap from plot line to plot line and I never felt that some of the threads were properly explained or explored.

The acting is very good, and you can feel the terror in the characters and the tension in the certain scenes. Roden does a particularly good job of keeping you guessing as to his motives and who he really is, and both actors keep the feeling of reality strong.

The conclusion itself is quite disappointing and although it does get quite obvious near the end there was a distinct feeling of being let down after having the story built up so much.

In individual scenes the film is powerful, scary, and very intense, but as a whole it seems disjointed and poorly concluded. If the script and/or editing had been better the story might have flowed easier and the scenes would have been much more powerful and the different threads of the story made more sense. If these threads had been developed more effectively and held onto stronger conclusions, perhaps the ending would have had more power, rather than just ending.


Dead by Dawn Horror Festival
Filmstalker Festivals Page
UK IMDB Film Details





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Ah, sounds creepy!

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