Abandoned Mine (Jeff Chamberlain, 2013)
Abandoned Mine started off with a bang—there are some nifty filmmaking techniques that make it seem like you’re going to get something much more than you are from this low-budget horrorfest. For some reason, however, Chamberlain abandons the pretense to the avant-garde once things get rolling, and we end up with a straightforward haunted-mine tale, mediocre but watchable.
Plot: Brad (Pearl Harbor‘s Reiley McClendon) is a post-high-school layabout in a small rural town, bored out of his skull. His ex-girlfriend Laurie (Reservations‘ Saige Thompson) is back in town, so he cooks up an idea—the two of them, Brad’s current girlfriend Sharon (Spy Kids‘ Alexa PenaVega), Laurie’s schoolmate Ethan (High School Musical 2‘s Charan Prabhakar), and Brad’s best friend Jim (Radio Flyer‘s Adam Hendershott), will spend the night near the mouth of the legendary Jarvis Mine, supposedly haunted by the family of the Jarvis that the mine is named for. A thunderstorm drives them inside, and weird things start happening…
Unfortunately, none of those weird things are terribly unpredictable; you should be on the right track relatively soon, and from there, aside from some appealing ambiguity as to what’s really going on with one of the characters, it unfolds in paint-by-numbers fashion. This has a surprisingly high-powered cast for such a shoestring affair, and despite being stereotypes, the characters are at least affable (I waffled the whole movie on whether Ethan was offensive or the best character in the entire movie). I’ve seen far worse movies this year, but I’ve seen far better as well. **