The Abandoned (2006)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
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Overall Rating 60%
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Ranked #4,151
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Connections: After Dark Horrorfest

In 1966, somewhere in Russia, a wounded woman drives a truck to an isolated farm with two babies. Forty years later, the film producer Marie Jones leaves her daughter in California and travels back to her home land in the wilderness of Russia. Marie is one of the children and had received a phone call from the notary public Andrei Misharin, who told her where the farm of her family is located. Marie arrives at the abandoned house and meets the stranger Nicolai, who tells her that he had also received a call from Misharin and he is her twin brother. Weird things happen in the house and Marie and Nicolai are haunted by zombie-like ghosts of themselves. Further, they find that they are trapped in the house and can not leave the place. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: June 25, 2007
Finally: with this review of The Abandoned, I have finished the entire lineup of the 2006 After Dark Horrorfest. There have been some excellent movies to come out of this collection as well as some major bombs, and we now find ourselves with the film that was considered to be the cream of the crop - the one that managed to get a brief theatrical outside of the Horrorfest itself. Was it indeed the best of the bunch? Did it deserve that solo theatrical run? Well... that all depends on what you're looking for from your horror.

This is definitely one of those movies where the less you know about the plot going into it, the more likely you are to enjoy it. I'm going to spell out the basics of the storyline regardless for those of you who do want to know about it, so continue reading this review and / or the next two paragraphs at your discretion.

Our story centers around a middle-aged woman named Marie (Anastasia Hille) who has been searching for some answers about her past - more specifically, her biological parents - for as long as she can remember. She was an adopted child, or so she's been told, and thanks to the record offices in Russia keeping less than the optimal amount of records about its citizens, the paperwork and the answers have been lost to time.

All of that changes when she receives a phone call letting her know that she's inherited a house and the land that it stands on... which just so happens to be the house and land that her parents owned. Yes, some answers have finally surfaced for our leading lady, so she immediately heads back to her homeland in order to get to the bottom of things. There, she finds that the locals are scared of the land that she now owns, her new house has been empty for about forty years, and if all of that wasn't odd enough, she eventually meets a man (Karel Roden) who is also trying to find out about his past... and who also claims to be her twin brother. Together, they go looking for some answers about their parents, and what they find is that there was definitely a valid reason for the townsfolk to be afraid of this house... and these two returning to the home where they were born only makes matters worse.

Now, as mentioned, this film is going to be hit or miss depending on what you expect from finer horror offerings. If you're looking for a film that will provide you with an impressive body count, loads of gore, and a killer that provides lots of "BOO!" scares while stalking his victims, you're going to hate this one with a passion. If, however, you're looking for a damned inventive take on the haunted house genre that is actually eerily reminiscent of the Asian ghost stories (minus the clichés), this may be just what you've been looking for... and it may also find a spot in your "to buy" list if you're anything like me and decided to rent it first.

What makes this film work so well isn't the actual storyline (which is merely a small step above average), nor is it the "jump" / chase / ghost scares (of which there are very few). The thing that The Abandoned has in its favor is the atmosphere that slowly builds as the film progresses, the wonderful acting from the two leads, and the excellent cinematography that manages to turn a musty old house into a building straight out of your nightmares. When you mix in a bit of supernatural elements at just the right moments, you've got a film that is much scarier than a guy chasing big-busted teens with a meat cleaver or a killer crocodile running rampant.

My only true complaint about the film is that the script could have used a little work, in my ever so humble opinion. Now, this is not to say that the film favors style over substance as there is a really good story to be found here, but there were a handful of scenes and storyline moments which, with a little tweaking, could have been so much better and led to a film that was downright classic. Regardless, I still enjoyed the hell out of the film, and although I won't call it my favorite of the 2006 After Dark Horrorfest, it definitely ranks high up there. 9/10.
grain of sand #1: grain of sand - added June 25, 2007 at 2:36am
loved this one, great atmosphere
9/10 most definitely
Cryptorchild #2: Cryptorchild - added June 25, 2007 at 6:18pm
I thought this was definately the best film of the Afterdark Horrorfest. I think the director is great. He's also done Aftermath/Genises which are amazing. But I thought The Abandoned is a great movie and I have no compliants at all.
danimigra #3: danimigra - added March 15, 2008 at 6:00pm
I did not like so much.. bit boring and the story is nothin "really" cool...
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