The Abandoned (2006) Blu-Ray Review
Unearthed Films

Back in 2006, genre fans were given the opportunity to see eight independent films theatrically during After Dark Horrorfest. This took place for several years, and it was a unique and fun way to see a horror film festival at your local theater. During the first year, Nacho Cerda, who directed the notorious short films Aftermath (1994) and Genesis (1998), co-wrote and directed The Abandoned, which proved to be one of the festival highlights. The brilliant team over at Unearthed Films has given it a new life by bringing it to Blu-ray in a packed special edition that any fan will want to own.

Marie Jones (Anatasia Hille) is a film producer who has to take a trip back home to Russia and leave her daughter where she currently resides in California. She arrives at the old country home of her family, which is now abandoned. Marie had received a mysterious phone call, leading her there only to meet Nicolai (Karel Roden), who was also lured there by a mysterious phone call. They learn the truth about one another when they’re both haunted by the ghosts of their past, as they’re trapped in the house with no apparent way to escape.

The Abandoned may sound like generic fare, but putting the title aside, it’s an eerie and atmospheric horror film that takes its time setting up the premise and then delivers in spades. The script may have passed through a few hands, including Karim Hussain (Subconscious Cruelty), director Cerda, and Richard Stanley (Hardware), before being molded into the film we have today.

It dabbles with themes of fate, delivers a bit of gore, frightening ghosts, and a satisfying finale. Anatasia Hille turns in a terrific performance, and she carries the movie like a pro and should be a bigger star, as does Karel Roden.

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The Blu-ray from Unearthed looks far better than the old DVD and helps to show off the locations (it was shot in Bulgaria) and its dark and uneasy atmosphere. There are three sets of new interviews with Cerda, Karim Hussain, and Richard Stanley, some alternate cuts, alternate endings, outtakes, and deleted scenes. It also includes the original special features with a ‘making of’, more with Cerda, a promotional gallery, storyboards, trailers, and a BD-ROM Storyboard collection.

The Abandoned has its faults, but overall, it delivers a unique and frightening experience.

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