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Funny that the back cover of "Abandoned" references "The Twilight Zone," because this should be an episode of that series instead of a full feature. There's simply not enough story to sustain itself for the hour and a half it asks of you.

Many "? myself included "? will watch it anyway, curious to see Brittany Murphy in her final film, in which she plays Mary, a totally with-it career girl glued to her cell phone and in love with her new boyfriend, Kevin (Dean Cain). As "Abandoned" opens, she accompanies him to the hospital where he is to have surgery on his left leg that should take about an hour.

But an hour later, he's nowhere to be found. He's not in the hospital's records. No one on staff remembers seeing him. The doctor who's supposed to perform his surgery is on vacation. With each employee she sees, Mary gets more and more flustered and worried that something's happen. Security!

To writer Peter Sullivan and director Michael Feifer's credit, the revelation is not as simple as the one they hint at heading toward, yet the one they ultimately unveil requires much greater jumps in logic "? leaps, even.

Sadder, however, is Murphy. She looks terrible, with makeup that renders her a heroin-chic version of Raggedy Ann that's wholly distracting, not to mention inconsistent. Once a talented actress, she didn't give it her all here. The end shot dedicates the film to her; it's a shame the end result isn't one of a higher quality. "?Rod Lott


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