Abandoned (2022)

Emma Roberts, Michael Shannon, John Gallagher Jr.
Written by: Erik Patterson, Jessica Scott
Directed by: Spencer Squire
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for terror, some violent content, thematic material, and brief strong language
Running Time: 102
Date: 06/17/2022

Table of Contents

Baby Bummer

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Despite a strong cast and some solid performances, this psychological horror/thriller is not only confusing, but also just plain bland, wheeling out all the old horror tropes without much enthusiasm.

Sara (Emma Roberts), her veterinarian husband Alex (John Gallagher Jr.), and their infant son Liam move into an old, remote farm house. Alex immediately goes to work tending neighbors’ farm animals, leaving Sara to care for Liam, all alone. She also suffers from postpartum depression, finding it difficult to feel delight in her baby, and feeling only guilty and sad.

The couple learns about the house’s violent past, and Sara reads police reports to learn more, but something is missing. A strange neighbor, Renner (Michael Shannon), comes and goes, and Sara begins seeing creepy things in the house, and, unless she can solve the mystery, Liam may be in danger.

Abandoned seems to have made an attempt to weave the serious issue of postpartum depression into the fabric of the mystery, and that might have been interesting, but unfortunately, it’s all surface. And scenes of the couple attempting to deal with it in a real-world way — Alex trying hard to understand her feelings, but failing — wind up in a stalemate. (Perhaps director Spencer Squire, who identifies as male, also had trouble understanding.)

Then, whatever the movie does achieve is undone by an ending that’s both confusing, betraying certain information offered at the outset, but also a cheat. Throughout the rest of Abandoned, screaming and banging sounds, figures dashing by in the foreground and background, and generic jump-scares simply happen without much impact. They’re all just too familiar.

Roberts — whose cute outfits don’t really fit the image of a stay-at-home mom (there’s no spit-up on them), as well as Gallagher and Shannon all seem game, and they do their best to emotionally tie things together, but the movie leaves them all… abandoned.

Leave a Comment