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The Abyss Review – Impressive special effects in an otherwise formulaic disaster movie

The post The Abyss Review – Impressive special effects in an otherwise formulaic disaster movie appeared first on Ready Steady Cut.

The Abyss (original title: Avgrunden) is Sweden’s version of a (relatively) big-budget disaster movie. The action is set in the country’s northern city of Kiruna, where the mining underneath the Kiirunavaara Mountain threatens to swallow the town whole. The real-life city of Kiruna is in the process of moving, buildings and all, so a thriller centered on the worst-case scenario for the region adds a scary layer of anxiety to the viewing experience. 

Written by a father and son team comprised of Richard Holm and Robin Sherlock Holm, The Abyss features an ensemble cast of Swedish stars, including Tuva Novotny (who you might recognize from 2018’s Annihilation), Kardo Razzazi, Felicia Maxime, and The Wheel of Time’s Peter Franzén.

The Abyss (2023) review and plot summary

At the start of the Netflix film, a teenager and his friends find themselves sucked into the Earth after a night of drinking too close to the mines’s rift zone. We’re then introduced to our protagonist, Frigga (Novotny), who works at the Kiirunavaara mines as the safety director while her estranged husband, Tage, is the head of operations. 

Frigga’s personal life is less than ideal. Since separating from Tage, her relationship with her rebellious teens, Mica (Maxime) and Simon (Edvin Rydingand), is strained. It doesn’t help that her new beau, fireman Dabir (Kardo Razzazi), arrives in town to surprise her in time for Simon’s birthday celebrations. However, the birthday boy is nowhere to be found after getting into a massive fight with both his parents the previous night. 

Of course, Frigga is concerned about her son’s disappearance on his birthday but she’s even more worried about the mountain showing an alarming level of seismic activity, indicating the town and its inhabitants are far from safe. 

The Abyss starts out promising enough. During most of the first half there’s an insidious sense of impending doom. We know the mines are about to turn the entire town into a giant sinkhole, and watching the main characters reach the foregone conclusion is enough to keep you at the edge of your seat. 

The film falters during its second half when the disaster elements are set aside to make way for a bonafide soap opera. It seems like all the effort to create a thrilling feature went into the premise and the first part of the movie, only to start fizzling out before reaching the climax. 

It’s hard to fault the cinematography and realistic special events. The portion of the film set undegrown has a claustrophobic feel about it, and I often found myself holding my breath. Some of the death scenes are brutal and would make even the most ardent disaster genre aficionado squirm. 

Is The Abyss worth streaming?

In terms of performances, the stellar cast does an excellent job of bringing the drama to life. The broken-up family going through an extreme disaster trope has been done to death, but the notable performances in The Abyss slightly elevate the otherwise predictable narrative. 

The Abyss isn’t the worst disaster film out there, but it’s not the most memorable either. It’s got an interesting premise, a great cast, and outstanding special effects. However, the plot is predictable, and whatever spark it had in the beginning turns into a snooze fest of a final act.   

What did you think of The Abyss (2023)? Comment below.


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The post The Abyss Review – Impressive special effects in an otherwise formulaic disaster movie appeared first on Ready Steady Cut.

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