Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Abandoned

A woman travels to Russia to trace her family history, and ends up at their old farmhouse where she meets her long lost twin. Only some spooky shit is going down there, and soon enough she's facing off against a sinister force.

I watched two of Nacho Cerda's short films earlier in the month, and though neither was exactly a home run, they both showed enough potential that I knew I wanted to check out The Abandoned, apparently his only feature. And I'm glad I did. This is a weird, spooky film, heavy on atmosphere and with a nice dash of suspense. At heart I suppose it is a haunted house story, but one with some odd and unique ideas, enough so that you're not really sure where it's going at any given moment. And I'm not even sure I could totally explain what was supposed to have happened, but sometimes I like it like that. It has ghosts and ghouls and time loops and man-eating warthogs, really going out there with a crazy story and yet maintaining an eerie tone that keeps it from getting silly.

Though not completely without dialogue as his short films were, Cerda is good a crafting long stretches of film without any talking, focusing more on mood and suspense and doing a pretty good job of it. Good chunks of the movie are just the protagonist walking around witnessing spooky things happening, which can be tedious in some films, but I'd say the mix of creepy ideas and atmosphere is potent enough to keep the viewer engaged throughout.

Grade: B

1 comment:

Shenan said...

I think it's pretty important to mention that she's not just going to Russia to "trace her family history"--she knows that she was born in Russia, and was given up for adoption. So she goes to Russia to find out about her biological parents. And she finds out shortly after arriving that her mother is dead and her father can't be located, so the reason she then goes to the old farm where she was born and where her family lived, is so that she can try to figure out something about her mother's death, and about the chunk of her own life that's missing.

You made it sound like she's just interested in genealogy, when in fact, it's a little more personal and dramatic than that.