The Abandoned (R)

Horror 96 February 23, 2007
By Jim Ridley
A punishing dose of zombie Chekhov for lifetime Fangoria subscribers, the first feature by Spanish splatter maven Nacho Cerda traps an American movie producer (Anastasia Hille) in the decrepit Russian farmhouse where she was abandoned 40 years before as an infant. Her only company is the fraternal twin (Karel Roden) she never knew she had -- oh yeah, and their pasty-faced ghost-world doppelgängers, part of an endless-loop nightmare that has sucked the siblings back to the site of a grisly family tragedy. The relatively tame horrors on display here -- mostly of the blip-in-the-night variety, accentuated with a tooth-rattling soundtrack of drones, moans, creaks, and shrieks -- may disappoint fans of the director's gut-spelunking short Aftermath, which made him an underground hero on the abra-cadaver circuit. Worse, though, is that Cerda's striking creep-show atmospherics, desaturated palette, and off-kilter editing rhythms are a style in search of a movie: The muddled Twilight Zone payoff here is hardly enough to justify a sluggish two-character round-robin of "Don't look in the basement!" The last thing a filmmaker named Nacho needs is more cheese.
Nacho Cerda Jordanka Angelova, Kalin Arsov, Paraskeva Djukelova, Valentin Ganev, Valentin Goshev, Anastasia Hille, Anna Panayotova, Carlos Reig, Karel Roden, Svetlana Smoleva Nacho Cerda, Karim Hussain Carlos Fernández, Julio Fernández Lionsgate Films/Afterdark Films

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