The Abandoned (2006)

The Abandoned is a 2006 horror thriller, written and directed by Nacho Cerdá with additional writing from Karim Hussain and Richard Stanley. Mostly known as a director of shorts and documentaries, The film is the only feature-length title written and directed by the Spanish filmmaker. Karim is most notable as a cinematographer, working on such titles as Infinity Pool (2023), Orphan: First Kill (2022), and Possessor (2020) to name a few. Whereas Richard is an accomplished writer/director, working on such titles as Color Out of Space (2019), Hardware (1990), and The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996).

Marie is a young film producer who travels to Russia to uncover the mystery behind her birth upon hearing of her biological mother’s demise. Upon arriving at her ancestral homestead, she soon discovers that unseen forces intend to keep her there. As she delves deeper into the dark secrets of her family’s history, Marie discovers horrifying truths that test the limits of her sanity and grip on reality.


Thriving to create a fish-out-of-water environment, The Abandoned portrays an unnerving sense of isolation throughout. Whilst including an extensive amount of spoken Russian language, the film is noticeably missing any subtitles—submerging the audience in a similar foreign landscape as our protagonist. This certainly reinforces a strong distrust of the film’s other characters, their palpable disdain for Marie when combined with the language barrier causes difficulty distinguishing their true intent.

Additionally, this sense of seclusion masterfully fabricates an atmosphere of ever-growing dread. The remote, dilapidated farmhouse and the desolate Russian wilderness shrouded in darkness are the perfect canvas for this captivating tale of escalating terror. The delayed relation of The Abandoned’s narrative gradually being drip-fed to the audience unequivocally creates an unhurried, slow burn that swells in intensity to its conclusion.


Anastasia Hille delivers a standout performance as our main protagonist Marie, portraying her character’s fear and vulnerability with raw intensity. Her journey of self-discovery is both compelling and harrowing, as she confronts her inner demons amidst the external horrors that threaten to consume her.

Playing a principal part of the story, the film’s cinematography is a standout display in creative visuals. The use of establishing shots does an amazing job of setting up the barren, bleak ambiance of The Abandoned’s tone. Furthermore, the use of evocative sweeps and atypical angles undoubtedly delivers an incredibly sleek visual design overall. However, the unrestricted implementation of the “shakey cam” becomes obnoxious at points, being far too intense for such frequent use, and surely would have benefited from a more restrained usage.


An atmospherically chilling blend of supernatural and psychological horror, The Abandoned is a master class in rising tension and desertion that’s sure to beguile fans of both. With its fascinating story, standout performances, and impressive visuals, director Nacho Cerdá’s only feature-length film is a testament to his skill as a creator.

The Abandoned (2006) is available to order from Unearthed Films’ website from April 9th.

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