Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Abandoned (2007)

Awful attempt at a horror-movie mindfuck suffers from a lack of concreteness. If the whole point of the rubber-reality movie is to disorient the viewer via dislocation within the narrative, there has to first be a reality from which the script can dislocate. Director Nacho Cerdà, though, starts in with the hallucinatory shenanigans pretty much straight away, so that we never get a chance to get grounded on the rugs that will be pulled out from underneath us. I can see what was intended by that, though -- the circular structure of the narrative is meant to reflect the film's ideas on the cycle of abuse and how psychic damage incurred early in life and linger and haunt us to our ends. But if you're going to make a horror film, you have to make sure that it works as a horror film before it works as allegory, because otherwise you're just wasting your time. Considering the deficient quality of the acting and dialogue (this is the kind of film where it's obvious that everyone involved knows English as a secondary language), Cerdà must have been banking on his ability to create dread as a way to gloss over the film's flaws. But it's all for naught -- Cerdà does well by the atmosphere, all dank grays and rotting wood, but he undermines his film's status as a horror film by continually dampening the scares. The stinger is the cheapest of horror tricks, but it's also the easiest. Yet somehow, Cerdà fluffs pretty much every false scare by holding his shots too long and letting his cutting get lax, so we get the buildup but no punch. The Abandoned is a soggy wet blanket of a film, briefly enlivened late in the film by a neat reverse-time sequence and some carnivorous pigs but ultimately just so much dead space and nonsense. The closing narration doesn't sum or tie anything up as much as it merely adds an extra layer of incoherence, which seems strangely appropriate.

Grade: D+


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home