Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Abandoned


(2007) ***1/2




When a notary informs Marie that her long-deceased parents and her birth house have been located she leaves the comfort of her posh California home and travels to a dreary, remote island in Russia to claim her inherited property. Marie, who was adopted as an infant, never knew her parents and for 40 years she has tried to piece together her family history without any luck.  Hiring a driver to take her to the secluded property (at night!), she arrives to find a large, abandoned farm that no one has maintained for 40 years. As her driver leaves her behind, Marie begins exploring the old homestead where she runs into her dripping wet doppelganger.
Running away from the house in fear Marie stumbles and almost drowns in a river. She later wakes up in the house and meets Nikolai, who pulled her from the river. He reveals that he is her brother and he too was summoned by the notary to come to the property. Soon they run into Nikolai’s doppelganger who is covered in wounds. The two conclude that they are being haunted by themselves and it is paramount that they escape.
The Abandoned is one of the only films I have watched this year that I found to be genuinely spooky. Although there are a few “jumps” along the way, The Abandoned is primarily atmospheric, quiet and eerie, which I prefer in my horror these days. The cast is excellent, it is beautifully shot, and like Chernobyl Diaries setting the film in Russia makes it extra unsettling. The film loses some points however because it is needlessly confusing and I had to replay the final few minutes to fully appreciate what I had just seen. It wants to be a clever puzzle but I think it’s missing a few pieces. That’s okay, though, because I enjoyed what I watched even if I wasn’t able to sort the whole affair out.

7 comments:

Catfreeek said...

Your review is spot on, I watched this a couple years ago and I remember replaying the end as well, like wait...what just happened. A bit confusing but very creepy indeed.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

This sounds pretty cool actually. I love the concept of doppelgangers! Remember when evil Cooper stalked good Cooper in the Black Lodge? That was pretty sweet.

Abduscias said...

I'm noticing a trend in inherited houses. These are warnings to never claim inherited houses!!! Aaah

Octopunk said...

Yikes, doppelgangers! The scary harbinger-of-your-death kind instead of the taking-over-your-life kind! Eek eek eek!

That's a drag about the ending. Endings are so important. I watched something (review coming) that was the opposite: the movie dragged but the ending was surprisingly good.

Landshark said...

Huh, nice review, and this sounds like something I'd like to check out.

DCD said...

I would probably check this out too. I prefer the atmospheric slow build stuff.

50PageMcGee said...

good review, dude.

you missed a golden opportunity to have your last paragraph require five readings to understand. that way we could have related to your confusion better.