Whether you are an adrenaline junky or just want a pretty girl to grab onto your arm in fear, humanity is drawn to horror films. The twisted stories keep us guessing while the sick situations entertain our darker sides. We enjoy watching every day, normal individuals unexpectedly be forced into a terrifying predicament as they fight for their survival. However, horror movies as of recent have become a bit stale, at least in my opinion. Nowadays we have a lot of mockumentary-style films with over exaggerated paranormal phenomenon, overused zombie plots, and generic hack ‘n’ slash gore feasts. The films keep you occupied but leave you feeling a bit unsatisfied at the end almost like there is an empty hole in your heart that is still waiting to be filled by a riveting experience.
Entertainment One and Hidden Agenda have recently released a new sci-fi/horror movie that is grotesque and disturbing in all the right ways. Abducted original appeared as an XBox exclusive independent film on September 3rd but has made its way to DVD format just in time for Halloween. Written, directed, and produced by Glen Scantlebury and Lucy Phillips (My Tiny Universe and Steal America), Abducted tells a story about physiological and psychological torture that is guaranteed to get under your skin – literally.
Release: September 3rd (XBox Live), October 15th (DVD)
Price: $5.99 (HD Rental – XBox Live), $15.99 (HD Digital Download), $19.98 (DVD)
Entertainment One/ Hidden Agenda
The movie begins in a very traditional way. We are introduced to young couple – David (Trevor Morgan from The Rookie) and Jessica (Tessa Ferrer from “Grey’s Anatomy”) – who are enjoying the first few days of their California vacation. After a day of exploring Los Angeles and being at the beach, they settle to watch the sun set over the city in Griffith Park. However, the romantic setting is brought to a sudden halt as both David and Jessica are hit with sleeping darts. The couple passes out with David awaking sometime later. He discovers that they are being abducted and manages to escape but only for a short time. Running madly through the dark forest, he attempts to call for help only to be shot down again as he tries to flag down a van. Another unannounced amount of time passes before Jessica wakes up. She realizes that she is no longer in the park but instead is in a cell. Panic begins to overtake her until she comes across David bonded and gagged in the same cell with her.
The two have little recollection of the event that occurred in the park and are as clueless as the audience is in regards as to why they were kidnapped. Unlike most horror films, the threat appears off screen for a good portion of time. Paranoia begins to sink into the cast and the audience alike as strange, raspy breathing and rattling noises can be heard all around the room the couple are trapped in. You find yourself wondering the same questions as the characters since almost no motive is given behind the abduction even though the pair are closely being monitored. The eerie peace is interrupted when the enemy – or enemies- finally are shown. There are no monsters or zombies
here or even your generic mad scientist. Instead, David and Jessica find themselves as prisoners to what appear to be grown men in hazmat suits with gas masks. Though even with think gloves, the capturers refuse to touch their test subjects without the ai of metal clamps, tasers, and the constant use of sleeping gas. The imaginations of the characters and the audience start to run wild simultaneously as a theory of a genetic experimentation is sparked.
Just as you think you have figured out what was going on, a monkey wrench is thrown into your brain’s gears. While in captivity, David and Jessica end up coming across three other couples and each couple has a different reason for the abductions and experiments. The incredibly blend of multiple conspiracies is truly the highlighted feature of Abducted. Enough evidence is provided throughout the masked men encounters and random information each couple stumbles upon that you find yourself nearly believing every explanation. The guessing game you find yourself tossed into the middle of captivates you to the point that you start to feel as mentally drained and confused as David and Jessica; that is a really good thing.
Abducted gave me the greatest sense of immersion I have felt from a film in a very long time. The dialogue exchanged between David and Jessica states that they are quite serious about each other and their interactions to one another invites the audience to be a part of their life. I found it incredibly easy to not only relate but to also care about David and Jessica to the point where I felt emotionally invested into seeing them survive their terrifying ordeal. Not only did the main protagonists feel real, but they also acted like legit human beings. Logic and problem solving skills were used frequently over the “let’s split up” or “let’s follow the trail of blood” plans we typically see. Their reactions to the horrifying events around them are sensible without any clichés or poor script to downgrade the fantastic acting.
I also greatly enjoyed the fact that even small details like the use of cell phones and characters not needing to use the bathroom or growing facial hair during their imprisonment had justifications throughout the film. David and Jessica do manage to have brief contact with the outside world; tiny connections are made with their friends and family before something happens that interfere with their attempt to ask for help. To me, discovering that you are trapped somewhere with no idea of the location but knowing you had a chance to reach out to a loved one is the worst type of torture. The roller coaster ride of hopeful moments and complete despair is where the psychological aspect of the film comes into play. The depth of the realism created a very surreal feeling within me that fed into the idea that things like this could potentially happen. If you are capable of making the viewer think, “Oh shit…Something like that could be real”, then you executed your horror film correctly.
The suspense and tension will grip your soul and drag you along for the ride regardless if you want to or not, though trust me, you will want to be a part of this trip. Abducted is an extremely satisfying film with a fresh feel to a genre that is slowly starting to rot. Anyone in the need of a good creepy feeling for a Halloween party or for an October night in, please please please watch Abducted either on the XBox Live or grab a copy of the DVD which is on sale now. For those of you who pick up the DVD, you will get a nice little bonus. A behind-the-scenes featurette is included on disc which will give you a bit of insight to the film.