Directed by debutant filmmaker Spencer Squire, the horror film “Abandoned” is probably not the best start to one’s directorial career. The film tells the story of a young mother struggling to find the supposed joys of motherhood while also uncovering a dark secret about her new house. The film is the same old uninspiring horror flick with nothing worthwhile. Aside from those who keep the horror genre very close to their heart, “Abandoned” is disappointing and skippable, with laughable logic and ineffective jump-scares.
‘Abandoned’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
A young couple, Sara and Alex, arrive at a farmhouse in the countryside, away from the crowds of the city, with their infant son, Liam. They seem to be shifting away from the city, and the farmhouse instantly seems like the ideal choice, as they tell the real estate agent, Cindy, who is showing them around. Sara, however, seems to be struggling to manage her incessantly crying baby and also looks distant from the whole conversation at times, hardly saying anything much. Alex makes up for her silence as he looks around the property, which has a big house and also a barn, and expresses his liking for the place. Finally, as the deal is about to be finalized, Sara asks Cindy why the house has not had anyone living in it for a long time, to which Cindy frankly responds that there had been some gruesome incident in it many years back. As Alex casually says that they do not want to know about it, Sara insists that they should, and Cindy reveals that a girl had committed suicide in the house after killing her baby and father. The agent then hands them an enveloped report and suspects that the couple will also obviously skip the property, much like everyone else before them. But Sara’s opinion is quite the opposite, as she says that they still want to take it and even tells her husband that she would not mind a little haunting if there was any.
As the family settles into the house, their biggest worry is revealed—Sara has been suffering from postpartum depression and borderline psychosis, for which she had also sought some medical help. Alex stresses the fact that their comparatively simple lifestyle, closer to nature and away from crowds, might be just what Sara needs to recover. Sara most struggles to be close to her baby son, who also seems to not want to be breastfed and instead prefers milk from a bottle, and she feels clueless about how to get over this. She and her husband find a locked room in their new house, which they open and realize to be a child’s room, presumably the girl’s. Sara also opens Cindy’s envelope and reads up about the incident—a young girl, Anna, used to live with her father, Robert, in the house, who she murdered along with her own infant baby, before killing herself some forty years back. Soon after their moving in, a somber-looking man introduces himself as their neighbor Renner, and the man reveals that there were not only Anna and Robert in the house at the time of the incident but also Anna’s brother and Robert’s son. Gradually, going over old photographs in the house and also through Renner’s words, Sara realizes her own physical similarity with Anna at around the same time she seems to see young Anna’s ghost.
What Secrets Does The House Hold Within Its Walls?
Sara tries with all her might to make her baby comfortable around her, using hand-made puppets and a range of toys, but nothing seems to stop Liam’s discomfort. Along with the old photographs, Sara had also found a small wooden musical box toy, most possibly belonging to Anna, and had been mesmerized by it. The toy also has the same effect on baby Liam, as he listens to it with all his attention but starts crying again the moment his mother shuts its lid. As Alex goes out on his professional chores, looking after farm animals around the countryside, Sara spends time by herself in the house, and gradually starts to hear the noises of children running around and the sounds of their laughter inside the locked-up room that was once Anna’s. Although she probably thinks of it as part of her weak mental condition and even hallucinogenic psychosis, one night she traces the noises to be coming from behind a heavy wardrobe. Peeking behind the furniture, she notices another hidden door that looks to have been shut for a long time. One afternoon, out of sheer desperation, she tries to push the wardrobe aside but is unable to move it and is instead swarmed by flies that buzz out from under it. Renner soon visits again and this time tells the woman of a truth that had not been reported—Robert’s wife had passed away while giving birth to their son, and after that, he had lost all mental stability and used to regularly rape his young daughter. All this information easily clings on to Sara’s psychosis, and she starts to see visions of Robert running towards her room. The woman had also earlier found a ribbon belonging to Anna in her room, and had put it on herself, perhaps building on the strange coincidence of their physical appearances matching a lot. On one occasion, she even feels like a pair of hands appear out from under the bed in one of the rooms to protect her from Robert, who frantically walks towards her, making it very apparent that he wants to harm her. On another occasion, she sees the cruel and heinous act of the father forcing himself upon the young girl and remains standing still with shock and disgust. On another occasion, she imagines that Robert is trying to drown her in the bathtub while she is taking a bath with Liam. No physical evidence of these attacks remain once her delusions get over, though, and the only real-world effect that these incidents have is that they either scare Liam or make the baby vulnerable to very dangerous situations due to nobody attending to him. At one time, Liam was left alone to topple over a burning candle, and at another time, he was almost about to crawl through an open space on the staircase and horribly fall down but was somehow saved just in time.
However, certain physical evidence of something sinister going on is indeed found in the house, as Sara discovers that small items such as Liam’s pacifier and a photo of the couple’s wedding are missing from the house. She had a photo of herself in her last profession as a teacher, and had now found it with her own face hastily cut out from it. She believed, for whatever reason, that this and also the destruction of her favorite musical box toy (which she had found shattered) were the doings of her jealous husband. When she confronts Alex about it, he does not give much of a reply. One day after smelling the unbearable odor of human excreta in the drawing-room, Sara moved the sofa to find a number of soiled diapers stored there in some sort of practical joke.
Meanwhile, Alex is seen working with a strange and creepy-behaving local farmer who orders him to kill the male pig on his farm that has fathered piglets with some sort of disease. After Alex goes ahead with the job and realizes that it is actually not the father pig who was sick, the farmer tells him to get rid of the mother pig, and Alex now almost pleads with the man to put the animal down in a humane manner, but the farmer rejects such an idea. The couple also have a sort of fallout between them with respect to Liam’s safety. When Alex finds out about their son almost falling down a flight of stairs, he believes that his wife is beyond any help and is unable to keep their baby safe. Sara had found maggots inside the bottles of milk kept for Liam in their refrigerator and had thrown them away, which Alex interprets as the cruel mother’s act of not giving Liam any food unless he complied with her breastfeeding. But Alex does try to help his wife after some time, as he calls a psychiatric specialist to their house and then also suggests that Sara give up breastfeeding, at least for some time, and give the baby bottled milk. But Sara vehemently rejects such a suggestion, desperately claiming that she feels close to the baby, feels like he is someone of her own, only while breastfeeding him, and that she is utterly tired of trying to explain this to people who want to take away even that moment from her. The couple does finally reconcile, though, and Alex keeps leaving his wife, who clearly struggles with her mental troubles, alone to go to work, and he does a similar thing on a particular night (close to the film’s climax) after receiving an urgent call from a client.
“Abandoned” heavily suffers from all the superficialities and hilariously terrible logical flaws that have become characteristic of bad horror films nowadays. Firstly, why would Sara think it would be a great idea to move into a reportedly haunted house with an infant baby? Also, why does she never tell her husband about any of her findings and apparitions in the house? It is a bit understandable that her initial impression of such occurrences was that they were part of her psychosis, but beyond a point, it becomes a stretch, much like many other instances spread all across the film, like the very convenient placement of a burning candle close to an infant baby, waiting for a disaster to happen. More revelations are made in the film, which are pleasant not because they send a chill down the spine but because we realize that we are getting closer to the end of it all. In supremely predictable fashion, Cindy reveals to Sara that Robert’s young son, who had been taken in by authorities when the dead bodies had been found, was actually their neighbor Renner. After being released from the orphanage, Renner had returned to the place and bought the house next to his original home, and would often visit the house at night. On his next visit, Renner also reveals that the report on the incident had falsely stated that her father and sister had only one baby (which she had murdered), but that there were indeed two more babies who were left back in the house. Finally, on the night when Alex leaves Sara alone in the house to give birth to a calf, the mother suddenly finds her baby missing. She runs up to the first floor, frantically searching for the infant, and sees that the wardrobe has been shattered open from the inside, most possibly with an ax that had once belonged to Robert.
‘Abandoned’ Ending Explained: Is Sara Able To Save Baby Liam?
Hearing Liam’s voice from inside the hole in the wardrobe, Sara wastes no time in entering the hole, and she now finds herself inside an attic-like room with blankets and rags on the floor and with dim lights. She quickly spots the toys that had gone missing and also the photograph from her wedding and realizes that they had been taken away by whoever had been living inside this hidden room or chamber. Soon, two young boys appearing to be in their mid-teens come out of the shadows, and one of them holds baby Liam in his hands. She asks for her baby back, telling the boys that she knows who they are and what has happened to them, as it is very clear that the two were sons of Robert, who had kept them locked up inside this room forever. The boys, however, also claim to have seen her and deny giving her baby back, saying that they had seen her try to harm the baby. As Sara desperately tries to make them understand that she had no intention of harming the baby, the elder boy raises an ax in his hand, and the film cuts to black. As a new morning breaks, Sara is seen holding Liam warmly in her arms, and she is finally over her postpartum trauma and is able to look at her son as someone of her own. Alex returns home and finds his wife and son waiting for him at the breakfast table. The family happily reunited, and baby Liam is also seen growing up into a young boy. As the three happily spend time together in their front yard, Renner looks on at them, and Sara exchanges a glance with him. Sara is also finally revealed to be pregnant with a second child.
It is quite obvious that the reason Renner used to return to the house at night when it was empty was to feed the two boys, who were his own brothers (half-brothers, in the stricter sense). Once the family started living in the house, he must have not been able to feed them, and they ultimately forced their way out of captivity. Whether the two boys are killed by Sara or not, in the end, is not revealed. Although the swishing of the ax and Sara’s protective words fit to be said by a mother desperate to save her child, initially does make it seem like she might have killed the two boys, the subtle nod to Renner at the end might also suggest that she lets them live. Whatever be it, there is hardly any sense trying to make meaning out of such a disappointing film, one that is extremely superficial even in what it tries to say. It is safe to say that “Abandoned” is an easy film to avoid for most.
“Abandoned” is a 2022 Drama Horror film directed by Spencer Squire.