2015/06/19 17:38:35 +00:00 | Heather Wixson

In The Abandoned, co-writer and director Eytan Rockaway takes viewers into the most unsettling parts of their imaginations with his intense psychological thriller that co-stars Louise Krause (Ava’s Possessions) and Jason Patric (The Lost Boys, Narc). Rather than give us another standard spookfest, Rockaway uses his story as a metaphor for something bigger, and the result is an effectively creepy tale that utilizes its tenebrous atmosphere and brilliant cast to its fullest.

The Abandoned follows Streak (Krause), a troubled woman trying to turn her life around in an attempt to keep custody of her daughter. She takes on a nighttime security position at an abandoned building where she is tasked with keeping things running smoothly alongside her new co-worker, Cooper (Patric). Things start off well enough, but as you may have suspected, there’s more than meets the eye at Streak’s new job once she discovers there may still be some secrets hiding deep inside the structure’s basement—secrets so disturbing that they threaten to push Streak’s fragile sense of sanity over the edge on her first night on the job. There’s a bit more to the story of The Abandoned, but that would ruin a few of those aforementioned secrets, but suffice to say the film offers a lot of subtle clues and tidbits related to just what is really happening to Streak and Cooper on that fateful night.

A wholly ambitious first-time feature from Rockaway, The Abandoned isn’t necessarily scary in the traditional sense, but it is effectively creepy and does an excellent job of using a growing sense of uneasiness and dread once Streak begins poking around her new workplace, complimenting both the film’s gloomy climate and foreboding setting rather nicely. The cinematography from DP Zack Galler does an incredible job of bringing The Abandoned's beautiful yet menacing location to life, following the characters throughout the voluminous structure with a wonderful fluidity and also finding a way to balance out some of the film’s darker scenes to avoid losing anything in the blackness.

Both Krause and Patric deliver top-notch work in The Abandoned, displaying exceptional chemistry and playing off the fact that they’re portraying characters who are virtual opposites of each other. Streak is far more intuitive and curious, mostly driven by gut responses to the situation as it unfolds, whereas Cooper is the abrasive, level-headed stalwart who wants nothing more than just another peaceful night at his job—something his co-worker isn’t about to give him. There’s an engaging back-and-forth shared between the two which provides The Abandoned the emotional anchor it needs as we learn the truth about what’s really happening with the overall story and what’s truly at stake for both of their characters.

The film’s third act does end up feeling a bit jumbled in comparison to its preceeding parts, but as a whole, Rockaway has created a genuinely eerie and intimate ghost story with The Abandoned, rising above many of the usual supernatural tropes to create something powerfully unconventional. Using the horror of the situation as a metaphor for loneliness and self-acceptance, Rockaway shows us that sometimes the only way our worst fears can hurt us is if we give them the power to do so.

Movie Rating: 3.5/5

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.