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Abandoned Mine – 4

Director – Jeff Chamberlain

Cast – Alexa PenaVega, Reiley McClendon, Saige Thompson, Charan Prabhakar, Adam Hendershott, Joseph Batzel

Release Year – 2013

Reviewed by John of the Dead

This is a film I constantly passed over because I just knew it was going to suck. Aside from a few poor reviews, the trailer made it seem like a Syfy effort and one of their lesser ones at that. Nonetheless, I was still curious to the film and kept it in my queue because I love flicks that center on a nowhere to run location, like a creepy abandoned mine. Also, it starred Alexa Vega, who has become a staple name in Robert Rodriguez’s films. Now I’m sure many of you know of the old grindhouse tactic where a “star” is in the film yet only appears in about 20 minutes of footage, but surprisingly enough Vega portrayed a fulfilled role. Nonetheless, it came as no surprise to me when the end credits hit and I recollected on the 90 minutes I had just wasted, so I warn you to stay away from this – even for Alexa Vega.

It is Halloween night and five friends seeking adventure break into an abandoned mine, only to find out the mine’s ghostly past may be true as they fight to make it out alive.

From the get-go you will realize that the film will have to improve greatly if it is to deliver a good performance in the end. I enjoyed the basic idea of the friends exploring the mine in search of some good jolts, as well as the writers keeping us guessing about whether the incidents going on are caused by ghosts or a human prankster. Aside from that the rest of the story is amateurish at best. You will take notice to this right away with the overly cliched characters, especially the almost racist portrayal of the film’s Indian exchange student. As far as the horror goes it is definitely present and was fairly enjoyable at first. Soon enough the “kills” become silly and the revelation behind the mine’s haunted past is no more scary than a Clifford book.

The direction was equally as poor as the writing, so don’t expect the film to improve. Setting the story in an abandoned mine is a genius idea because you really don’t have to work very hard to set up a scary atmosphere, but the atmosphere in this flick is hard to find and rarely present. With better sets the spooks and tension would have been much higher, but as with a lot of things film-related a low budget will keep you at bay. Director Jeff Chamberlain’s execution of the horror was almost mediocre, and that is me trying to stay positive in my critique. The kills were tame and the effects used might just make you laugh at loud, but you will have to see the film for yourself to know what I mean about that. With Alexa Vega in the film you may want to know about acting performances, and none of the actors were great. Some were better than others, but all had poor dialogue that ultimately served as an obstacle.

Overall, Abandoned Mine is a film I cannot recommend to anyone, even the most forgiving of viewers. The story is weak, the execution is poor, and if you want to see Alexa Vega in action I suggest you look elsewhere.

Rating: 4/10

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