Blu-Ray Review: Brittany Murphy Deserved Better Send-Off Than ‘Abandoned’

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CHICAGO – I wonder how the movie history books will remember Brittany Murphy, who died suddenly at the end of 2009. When she went, she had a few films in some stage of post-production and one, the thriller “Abandoned,” makes its way to Blu-ray and DVD this week. The film works about as well as your average straight-to-DVD thriller but distinguishes itself a bit due to Murphy’s underrated acting ability, but this actress deserved a more fitting final note.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 2.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 2.5/5.0

Especially when one considers the ugly rumors that surrounded her death combined with a few recent career decisions that pulled her out of the spotlight — most obituaries turned to “Clueless” or “Don’t Say a Word” as her most notable roles — it seems likely that history won’t be as kind to Brittany Murphy as it should be. What’s saddest is that she gave arguably the best performance of her career just a few years ago in the drama “The Dead Girl.” Other career highlights include “Sin City” and “8 Mile” but it really feels like Murphy had a comeback in her if only fate had been kinder.

Abandoned was released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 24th, 2010
Abandoned was released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 24th, 2010
Photo credit: Anchor Bay

Instead we’re stuck with films like “Abandoned,” a relatively mediocre thriller about a woman named Mary (Murphy) who brings her boyfriend Kevin (Dean Cain) in for routine outpatient surgery. She even comes to visit him later after check-in and meets his doctor and sees his room. But whe she comes back to take him home after the procedure, he’s completely disappeared. Hospital adminstrators claim that Kevin was never there and they have no record of his procedure. He doesn’t even show up on security cameras. As she continues to scream her case to whoever will listen, she’s deemed unstable and forced to find her man on her own.

Like a lot of twisting and turning thrillers, “Abandoned” actually gets less interesting as it goes along. And, sadly, Murphy’s simply not that good here. She often looks tired, pale, and overly thin (sometimes a byproduct of a horribly over-lit film set in a hospital) and it’s hard to watch her fragile state with the knowledge of what would happen so shortly after filming “Abandoned.” Even through that, she regularly finds honestly in a two-dimensional character.

No, the relative failure of “Abandoned” falls more on the script and lackluster direction by Michael Feifer than anything to do with Murphy. The dialogue is often ludicrously on-the-nose and the handheld camerawork sometimes makes the film feel too much like a university project instead of a feature film. The film is never well-done or believable enough to be honestly thrilling, despite Murphy’s best efforts to make it so. As for the plot, I’ll just say that the movie goes some ridiculously melodramatic places. All I really need to say is that I was actually more interested in the film before Kevin disappeared, but perhaps that’s just because it shows Murphy smiling and being in love one last time. She’s an actress that will be missed.

Almost as if they knew any superfluous special features might seem in bad taste given the controversy around the star’s passing, “Abandoned” does not include one minute of bonus material. The film isn’t so bad that it deserves that kind of lackluster release. Like its star, it deserved better.

“Abandoned” stars Brittany Murphy, Dean Cain, Mimi Rogers, and Peter Bogdanovich. It was written by Peter Sullivan and directed by Michael Feifer. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 24th, 2010. It is rated PG-13 and runs 93 minutes.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

Anonymous's picture

Good article. I agree with

Good article. I agree with you, this film is a bad send off for Brittany Murphy. She was definitely a talented actress and had a good resume of movies before her passing. But during her career she unfortunately made some bad choices and was surrounded by bad rumors. But I honestly believe had it not been for the rumors and bad choices she would still be here and her career would be thriving.

Will history be kind to her? It all depends on Hollywood.

R.I.P.
Brit Murphy

Anonymous's picture

Simon Monjack ruined her life

After seeing this movie I couldn’t understand why she looked so hideous, and dirty. Her character was a professional it didn’t fit. Then I see Simon Monjack credited as hair/makeup. Unreal, who the hell let that happen? Did he go to beauty school? She could have done better herself. Her hair wasn’t even washed. I have heard of husbands trashing wives careers but never hair/make up? Did he need to supervise so no one could talk sense into her? I hope he rots in hell. Maybe the movie would have been more believable if she didn’t look so skanky.

K. Tragic's picture

Brittany.

Great article- and oh-so-true. Brittany Murphy I think is def. one the saddest Hollywood tragedies to occur. She genuinely LOVED to act, and was amazing at it. She, in my opinion, had one of the best laughs of anyone on screen and off. For sure, you could really tell in ‘Abandoned’ that she was sick- the shine in her eye wasn’t there… I at first thought it was a bad makeup choice- but you could see she was really sick… it was in her eyes. Sigh.

I really hope the world continues to remember her work. R.I.P Brittany. <3

Ivan - Segunda Mano's picture

Poor Goodbye

Abandoned is a film with a poor argument where each side is predictable with some intrigue during development node or an early end.
His cast was scarce and over with a very poor performance as the stage where it happens the film with a few scripts produced. Abandoned get the feeling that had been recorded with a camcorder.

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