The Abandon review

The Abandon starts off as an eerie nerve-wracking thriller that eventually proves so frustrating it just got on my nerves.

There’s an interesting premise that is promising, but the film doesn’t offer enough to make the investment worthwhile.

One moment soldier Miles Willis (Jonathan Rosenthal) is fighting on a battlefield. The next a blinding light engulfs him, and Miles awakens in a strange cube. The cube doesn’t seem to adhere to normal rules of physics or logic. Some of Miles’ gear is resting at the top of the cube. Not to worry though as gravity and the cube are fluid so the walls quickly become the ceiling, floor and vice versa.

the abandon review -iced up

To further test Miles’ grasp on reality, the cube goes through drastic temperature shifts with heat strong enough to make his sweat sizzle on the floor. Extreme colds ice up the cube walls. And at other times strong magnetic forces lock Miles in place.

Rosenthal sells this desperate sense of confusion and hopelessness well. Given the circumstances, Miles doesn’t come off as stupid or doing anything that a reasonable person would do in a similar situation.

Things get even wilder as words randomly start appearing on a wall. Easily the least encouraging is the ominous message to abandon all hope. That’s looking like smart advice.

the abandon review - miles against the wall

A minor breakthrough occurs when Miles actually connects with someone else on his satellite phone. The voice on the other end isn’t to a fellow soldier, but a woman named Damesy (Tamara Perry), who’s in another cube.

Connected only through their inconsistent communication devices, Miles and Damesy try to make sense of their surroundings and a possible escape measure as the cube slowly closes in.

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Director Jason Satterlund squeezes every drop of tension and dread out of this scenario. The use of close-ups and shaky cams aren’t done to an excessive measure. Satterlund utilizes the harsh tests of the claustrophobic room to put Miles through the emotional wringer.

Even at 96 minutes the film feels too long. The concept is just too limiting. Screenwriter Dwain Worrell (Iron Fist) essentially sets up an escape room film without a series of puzzles to solve to convey some sense of progress.

the abandon review -miles suspended

Over time it feels stale watching Miles get pummeled around the room and having mini-breakdowns. And it would have been more rewarding seeing Miles and Damesy begin to crack the code to some degree before the final act.

The Abandon really just needed to find another level. It has potential and a solid hook, but never manages to evolve beyond it to truly sustain the thrills until the final credits.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Photo Credit: Millennial PR

For more escape fun, check out Escape Room: Tournament of Champions on Amazon Prime.

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