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The Abandoned (Blu-ray Review)

AbandonedTakev a terrifying plunge into the warped mind of a disturbed young woman with the visually and emotionally compelling psychological thriller The Abandoned. Making its Blu-ray and DVD debut June 7th, 2016 from Scream Factory, in conjunction with IFC Midnight, this suspenseful release also includes brand new bonus features, including an alternate ending, deleted scenes, and the theatrical trailer. Fans can pre-order their copies now by visiting ShoutFactory.com.  The film stars Louisa Krause (Martha Marcy May Marlene) with Jason Patric (The Lost Boys, Narc) and Mark Margolis (Breaking Bad) co-starring in this harrowing thrill ride.  The film is available for pre-order by clicking the link below.

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Film 

Desperate to get her life back on track, the unstable Streak (Louisa Krause, Martha Marcy May Marlene) takes a job as a security guard, working the graveyard shift at a once upscale, now abandoned apartment complex. But on her first night on duty, she discovers a horrifying presence lurking deep within the bowels of the decaying building. With her nerves already on edge, Streak must confront demons both real and imagined as she struggles to keep a grip on her sanity.

The Abandoned is a quiet little, bared bones’d horror thriller with big moments and a larger psychological agenda to play with its audience.  While having some tremendous success in its thrilling moments, the overall story becomes a bit flat and much of a disappointment with such a tired “been there, done that” type of revelation that you can sort of see coming from a mile away.  That and its another “child ghosts keep a dark secret” kinda subgenre movie.

And no, I’m not knocking the entirety of this movie.  There’s a lot of credit to be given to this movie.  Its direction is actually pretty terrific.  The acting is solid.  The shooting location lends itself to some really beautiful photography and they also have some setpieces doubling as works of art.  I also must say that the movie did get me on a few jump scare moments, which I pride myself of being something that takes a lot to get out of me nowadays.  Some of that may be on the audio mix though, but it still counts I say.  Part of the experience!

Maybe for some, The Abandoned works much better than it did for me.  As the film kept going, it got a little more stale with each little reveal and movement toward the end.  However, in doing so, it did do quite a good job at what it had to work with.  There are some really terrific make-up, creature and gore effects going on in the movie to go along with the jump scares, great scenery and beautiful photography.  Check this one out if you’re even a little bit curious.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  The Abandoned is a modern, digitally shot horror movie.  Of course it looks clean, crisp and detailed.  Glossy surface texture comes through great as well as patterns on the music.  The image is sharp, well defined and just overall flat out looks good.  This isn’t the bet you’ll ever see, but its well above average and sort of that standard good look to low budget digital films.

Depth:  Some good depth work here. Underwater moments look impressive.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and rich.  Shadows look very good and outlines are crisp.  Minimal detail masked on dark clothing, hair and surfaces.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are a pretty strong, with a palette that isn’t too vibrant.  Greens are a strong area on this one.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones carry a natural appearance and maintain it consistently throughout.  Details on facial features like wrinkles, blemishes, stubble and make-up come through finely.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Dynamics:  This is a pretty impressive little 5.1 mix they have going here.  The volume levels and such are done so with such great timing and precision.  As mentioned, I jumped a couple times in this movie and that was due to the work of the sound mix and music cues hitting for maximum impact.

Low Frequency Extension:  Jump scares, some underwater moments and just intense musical moments get a subwoofer enhancement.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Rear speakers gets some fun to do but are mainly relegated to ambiance.  Front channels give a good play by play for what’s happening onscreen as well as supply good boom for musical cues and jump moments.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are done with great clarity and set to an ideal place in the mix.

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Extras 

Deleted Scenes (HD, 2:06) 

Alternate Ending (HD, 3:24) 

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:52) 

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Summary 

Back and forth on The Abandoned, I fall in the squarely middle.  I was impressed with some of the direction on the film as well as the jump scares it got me on.  Overall though, the story is a bit tired and starts becoming predictable due to revelations of familiar tropes.  This Blu-ray has the familiar trope of looking and sounding quite good.  The extras are something and while they are tiny in number, they aren’t some random EPK junk.  Check this one out on a rental if curious.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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