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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » The Abandoned (2015) (Blu-ray)
The Abandoned (2015) (Blu-ray)
Shout Factory // Unrated // June 7, 2016 // Region A
List Price: $22.97 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by William Harrison | posted June 25, 2016 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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A U D I O
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THE FILM:

Click an image to view Blu-ray screenshot with 1080p resolution.

Well, if nothing else, The Abandoned (the one from 2015, there are approximately 900 movies with the same title) has an excellent setting. Streak (Louisa Krause), a young woman with mental health problems, takes the only job she can get: night security guard at an abandoned luxury apartment complex. She wants to regain custody of her daughter after a particularly bad breakdown, and her mom informs her in a phone call that this is Streak's final chance at normalcy. Streak's coworker, Cooper, is paralyzed from the waist down and very grouchy, and tells Streak he won't be friendly because she won't last long enough to matter. The building is opulent and cavernous, representing a time of prosperity that no longer exists. Its owners want to preserve its walls from vandals and vagrants, and the guards use a series of cameras to monitor the halls when not doing rounds. A dark building, long hallways and a delicate young woman. What could possibly come next? Unnatural occurrences? You don't say.

Krause actually gives quite a good performance given what little she has to work with. Director Eytan Rockaway's film does an OK job setting up that Streak has some deep-rooted issues, though the movie never reveals exactly what caused that problems. I did want Streak to persevere, not only because she needs a hug but also because Cooper is such an asshole. He knows the job sucks and the hallways are scary, and Streak is probably the twentieth associate he has been forced to train. Streak notices some odd feedback in the cameras, and also sees that several mapped areas of the complex are not under surveillance. Despite it being her first night, Streak makes waves to piss off Cooper and immediately heads for the unseen portions of the building. Cooper warns her not to go there, but she ignores him, leaving us with the remainder of The Abandoned.

This is not a bad film, but it does not offer much we haven't seen before. The setting is its greatest asset. The overly grand staircases, columns and hallways offer a sinister, oppressive presence when cloaked in darkness. Streak lets a homeless man (Mark Marglois) spend the night, again pissing off Cooper. The man hears voices and senses a presence lurking before meeting an unpleasant end. Streak continues to explore deeper into the basement, where locked doors suddenly open and strange items appear in seemingly abandoned rooms. I did like the acrimony between Streak and Cooper as it plays out when Streak feels in danger. Cooper stops an elevator with Streak inside as part of some on-the-job hazing, and refuses to give appropriate answers over their radios. This emboldens Streak to press on despite warnings that she should return to the control room.

The Abandoned mostly eschews cheap jump scares and bloodletting, though there are a couple of grisly moments. I found some decent suspense in early scenes, but later scares prove repetitive and dull. The movie really lost me in its third act, when the story becomes nonsensical. The movie ends with some literal head-trip drivel, and it feels like the filmmakers were not sure how to stick the landing. The resolution ultimately hurts the film because it cheapens everything than came before. While the acting and setting are above most minor genre efforts, a weak story and repetitive action almost sink The Abandoned.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

The 1.85:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image is competent, with good fine-object detail and texture. This is a very dark movie, and there is a fair amount of black crush that robs the image of some depth. Skin tones appear accurate, and colors are nicely saturated. I noticed only minor compression artifacts in darker scenes.

SOUND:

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix supports the atmosphere with subtle ambient effects and good fidelity. Dialogue is crystal clear and layered appropriately, and the mix handles the frequent over-the-air conversations well. English SDH and Spanish subtitles are included.

EXTRAS:

The disc includes some Deleted Scenes, an Alternate Ending and the film's Trailer.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

A mentally unstable woman lands a job as a night security guard at an abandoned apartment complex and begins observing unnatural occurrences. Original it is not, but the film is a notch better than most minor genre efforts. However, the intriguing, atmospheric setting and decent performances are undercut but The Abandoned's weak narrative and repetitive action. Rent It.


Additional screenshots:

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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