Abandoned (2010)

Abandoned

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
I’m sorry, Brittany.

Everyone sport on your sad faces. Brittany Murphy of course passed away far before her time in 2009 and I think I speak for us all when I say she is still missed. One of her final films is Abandoned, which is currently available for Instant Stream on Netflix. Her IMDb page lists a 2013 film as well, but I have no idea what that movie is or how to get a hold of it. So as far as I’m concerned, Abandoned was her real last film as of currently, and I’m sorry Brittany, whoever was in charge of post-production screwed it up for everyone.

Brittany Murphy played Mary Walsh, a woman with apparently the world on her shoulders, happily dating Kevin Peterson (Dean Cain). During an otherwise regular visit to the hospital to get routine surgery done, Kevin goes missing without a trace. The doctors and nurses around the hospital say his name isn’t registered on any of their databases, and everything she has of his isn’t conclusive to even prove he exists. When the doctors find out she is taking anti-depressants, they order a psyche evaluation, which makes Mary begin to question herself. How can an entire hospital complete with security footage all claim to never see this guy? Is she crazy, or is this all part of some elaborate conspiracy?

You know, I’ll be honest and say this is a kind of movie I typically love. Sure, there are some other great films with virtually the same premise, but I always seem to love them. It’s a little predictable as far as how it will end, but the real question is if the trip to that destination is any good. You know what? Behind a lot of what makes this film bad, you can see that the writing isn’t bad at all. They do a good job at making the audience start to think she really is crazy…even though we are pretty darn sure she’s not. There was enough background development to her story to both make sense, and force us to question everything up to that point. Why? We have seen too many movies now with twist endings and you never know when someone has multiple personality disorder, is seeing ghosts, is dreaming, or is crazy – because that always seems to happen. So is there a chance that this film is less predictable than how it seems – absolutely. I won’t go into how it ends, obviously.

I also want to point out that Brittany Murphy did a great job in the role, and the dedication in the credits for her recent passing was respectful. She had a bit of a range to pull off for her character here, and out of the entire cast, I can honestly say she was phenomenal. The problem is you can’t really tell, because the rest of the movie kind of sucks. I wish it didn’t, but it does. I’ll try my best to recall what was so bad.

Mostly, it was how the film looked. It was clearly low budget, and a lot of the scenes looked like they were filmed by amateur film students who didn’t know how to work a camera, use set lighting, or camera filters. Most of the time, there were over-exposed shots and weird angles that made it impossible to ignore. The acting from virtually everyone else was not only forgettable, but it was downright awful. Even Dean Cain…okay…that’s not much of a surprise. Poor guy’s career went down the toilet after Lois and Clark. It was at least HD, but the problem with that is when you don’t pay attention to how a film looks, things that normally would look great in film, look horrible…like Brittany Murphy’s make-up. She sparkled like a vampire in this film, thanks to the make-up drowning her face.  I could see all of the eye shadow, face mask, horrendous blush so well that she started to look like a clown.

It’s really depressing to say all this, given it being her final performance (sort-of). Like I said, as an actress, she did great in Abandoned, and the writing wasn’t bad at all. The faults laid solely in the filmmaking aspect, which is 80% of what makes a film great…unfortunately. People are going to have a real hard time looking past the obvious here, which is that in general…it just looks amateur while copying off an overdone plot. Why would anyone need to watch this when there are better alternatives? I gotta say…I understand the dilemma.

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