ABANDONED DEAD (2017)
Written and Directed by Mark W. Curran
A female security officer is put in charge of a downtown medical facility Mayfield Addiction Clinic for the night after finishing her normal shift. Disgruntled at the fact she should be at home rather than doing a double shift, Rachel is not best pelased that she’s spending her evening protecting a facility which serves to keep drug addicts in supply of methadone. However, it’s not the fix-hunting junkies of the neighbourhood she should be wary of as she discovers the true horrors lie inside the facility with her.
Horror ABANDONED DEAD centres around the character of Rachel Burke as the viewer follows the woman doing her nighttime stint at the rehab clinic. It seems like a boring job but someone’s got to do it though Rachel, being afraid of the dark, isn’t best suited for the job. Stuck in an empty building with only the darkness for company and the strange janitor who lives out back, Rachel is eager for the night to be over. After ordering pizza, she begins to settle in for the night, that is until she starts to hear voices and witness strange things in the darkness. Armed with her torch, she investigates the facility and fears for her life as secrets come back to haunt her.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Detective Haggis is investigating a series of murders where body parts have been removed from the victims. His investigation leads him all over town as he contemplates the mindset of the criminal but his own evening is laced with strangeness when he receives a phone call on a public phone from a mysterious caller with a warning.
ABANDONED DEAD is a paint-by-numbers horror that uses isolation and the dark to help feed fear with its bumps in the night and shadowy villains. Flashbacks attempt to enhance the film in a bid to explain the horrors unfolding but given that nothing really happens for the bulk of the film for either Rachel or the detective, the big twist towards the end isn’t anything to get excited over. If we actually cared about the character or had a better story, maybe this would have worked, but many films have explored this option and done it a lot better. Having weird, deformed spectres in the night and mutilated corpses simply don’t have any effect if there’s no story to begin with.
Despite a lack of true story and emotional involvement for the viewer, the film is shot rather well and as a work focused on a character’s isolation, trapped in a grotty building that just screams danger, it’s pretty decent. Unfortunately, that feeling of claustrophobia and isolation can only run so far and it soon runs out of steam. As a whole, it works well as an idea but that’s all it is – it’s simply not fleshed out enough and the parts with the detective seem just too surreal and muddled to be even a part of the main narrative.
The only people ABANDONED DEAD would scare are those afraid of the dark.