“The Abandoned,” co-written and directed by Eytan Rockaway (His first feature length film.), feels a little too much like the 2001 film “Soul Survivors” to be blazingly original but, it does have something. The storyline also seems to borrow some storyline from “The Orphanage,” “Fragile” and a bit from “The Devil’s Backbone” while this all seems like a case of points off for lack of originality, the film is entertaining and not a little nerve wracking.
Jason Patric (currently playing a disgruntled surgeon on the FOX mystery/thriller “Wayward Pines” and who played Michael in the iconic horror film “The Lost Boys“) is teamed up with Louisa Krause (Billions, Ava’s Possessions) to work security in an enormous building full of rooms and horrible secrets.
Streak (Krause) is the new guard who needs to make this job work as it is her last chance. The young woman and single mother has mental issues and may lose her daughter if she cannot succeed at this one. Cooper (Patric) is the man who runs the CCTV system and has seen more guards come and go than Carter has little pills.
The two form an uneasy alliance and then Streak lets a homeless man in (played by Mark Margolis) to shelter for the night. This is against the rules and Cooper worries that they will both lose their jobs.
Streak develops a fixation on a room that Cooper says does not exist and when she goes to investigate, and finds a door, she hears sounds from behind it. Later she opens the door and enters a part of the massive building that houses a dreadful secret. Soon she and Cooper are caught up in events that theater to kill them both.
There are a few problems with the tale. Krause is too up and down to be a security guard and Cooper goes from being downright aggressive to heroic in a very short space of time (one night) and the “reveal” when it arrives, throws us right into “Soul Survivors” territory, sans Elisha Dushku and Wes Bentley.
(Actually there are a number of these “while dying” films on the market: “Dead End” – where Ray Wise and Lin Shaye travel an eternal road after a hit and run, “Devil’s Mile” – where a trio of kidnappers are trapped on an endless road trip, “Reeker” – a group of college students end up on the road trip to Hell (This is a personal favorite with a young Arielle Kebbel, who proves that no-one can scream it better than she can in “The Grudge 2,” and Michael Ironside)
(“Reeker” also had an pretty unique plot dealing with smell and a clever script, made in 2005 on a shoe-string budget it is a brilliant little film and has a couple of surprising twists in it. Check it out if you can.)
Back to “The Abandoned,” Patric does manage to make his character more likable as the film progresses (he is a major douche at the start) and Krause, despite the need to strip to a tank-top for the latter part of the film, moves from annoying to someone we support.
The final twist is a “good ‘un” but there is no real logic in the events that lead up to it. The “damaged” children in the building are the only real connection and everything else is a stretch.
The building’s interior is sumptuous, the main bits at any rate, but little time is spent there as the film focusses on what is happening in the basement. The goings on there are spooky and there are a few jump scares on offer. Sadly the ghost children thing has been a little overdone.
Regardless of the whole-sale borrowing from other films, “The Abandoned” is a solid 3 out of 5 stars for watchability and that is down mainly to Patric and Krause. Streaming on Netflix at the moment and at just under an hour and a half it is worth a watch but not necessarily two.