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RATED Not Rated
STUDIO Entertainment One
RUNNING TIME 95 Minutes
• “Making-Of” Featurette
The first act of Oldboy gets its own movie… WITH ALIENS! Or something like that.
Tessa Ferrer, Trevor Morgan
Dave and Jessica, along with three other couples, are kidnapped by masked abductors in Griffith Park. Locked in a dark cell and sedated by gas, they are subjected to bizarre medical experiments and horrific physiological torture. After weeks of captivity, they make one final attempt to break free… only to discover the world they know will never be the same.
When Dave (Trevor Morgan) and Jessica (Tessa Ferrer) are abducted in the Hollywood hills, they wake up in a strange room. They’re fed nothing but bottled water and protein bars that make their hair and fingernails stop growing. They’re given their clothing, personal belongings, and even cell phones back. Strange men in hazard suits come and tazer them or knock them out with gas and when they awaken they find they’ve been operated on.
First the couple assumes they have been kidnapped by the Taliban because they’re upper-middle class white people and that makes logical sense to them. But soon other couples show up suggesting organ harvesting, boot camp, super soldier experiments, and alien abduction (by a race of aliens smart enough to use only human technology in case some government agency should find them out) as the “logical” reason for their capture.
Have you ever watched a found footage movie and wondered what it must look like to the people who aren’t holding the camera? Well Abducted is here to answer that question.
For some reason, Jess and Dave record video diaries on their phones, explaining the occurrences of almost every scene literally just after they have happened. This has to be how characters and found footage movies feel, watching people drone on about shit that’s already happened as though it’s ancient history.
To be honest, I don’t know why this movie is not a found footage movie, every moment of screen time save a couple minutes at the end are observed by some manner of camera, so it would’ve been easy to contrive reasons for that to happen. I’m sure the reason they’re making video diaries is for evidence, but in a traditional movie narrative it feels weird and out of place.
Actual found footage cinematography would also excuse all the plot threads that are never resolved by the end. What feels creepy from a first-person perspective is the limited field of view. From an omniscient third-person perspective, a person is pointing a running camera at something just feels lazy and confusing.
To be fair, the cast narrating their every move would have been welcome in a lot of indie-horror movies where the cinematography is too shaky, too dark, or the blocking of a scene is too awful to make out what’s actually happening. Abducted’s cinematographer is a pro; even though most of the movie is shot in low lighting, every movement and action is easily understood. The actors do a fine job of making their actions natural and easy to see, so it’s just gratuitous. It’s not even a case of “show, don’t tell”, because there’s plenty of showing, they just tell the audience anyway.
As I mentioned above, the plot just introduces a lot of stuff that’s never explained. Why is there an ear on the floor? Why is that red light constantly blinking? Why did they give this guy an Internet accessible phone, only to take it away when someone else tries to use the internet on it? What’s the deal with the little girl? Why are some of the gas masked guys randomly passing out and/or dropping dead? These questions and more are never given any answers. This movie has an ending but it’s so abruptly out of nowhere that we’re left to go, “Okay, I guess that guy was right?” We’re left to draw a conclusion based more on a lack of evidence of anything else than evidence actually supporting that theory.
Abducted is like Oldboy if the entire movie had taken place in that locked room where he just continually keeps asking who is doing this to him and why, and trying to escape. It’s not as boring as that statement implies, though. In fact, I found the movie extremely watchable, but if you’re going to present a mystery then you need to be able to solve it. It takes a certain amount of mastery to pull off a good ambiguous ending, and most of the people who think they have it are the ones who don’t.
All eight actors in this movie are great, but it’s Trevor Morgan and Tessa Ferrer who carry the movie. They have a natural easy-going chemistry where they feel like a couple and like characters in their own right and they’re both equally strong together and in their own separate scenes. Sidebar: Tessa is the niece of B-movie staple Miguel Ferrer. She is an extremely beautiful woman who also bears a strong resemblance to her uncle. Good luck reconciling that in your lonely nightmares.
Pretty much everything about this movie is good. If it felt like there was a point to it all, I’d give this one a high score but with a movie like this it’s really about how well the film-makers stick the landing. In this case, Abducted crashes and burns in its last fifteen minutes and what was an intriguing thriller just becomes another well-build oddity, plummeting from the sky like Icarus after flying too close to the sun.
Abducted contains a short “making of” featurette as its sole special feature. It’s pretty standard stuff and offers no special information on the film. It’s in 16X9 (1.78:1) format with 5.1 Dolby Digital Sound and English subtitles.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars