Movie Review: DESERTED

DESERTED was written and directed by Ashley Avis and stars Mischa Barton, Jackson Davis, Winter Ave Zoli and Trent Ford, with supporting roles by Jake Busey, Sebastian Bach, Gerry Bednob and Lance Henriksen.

When twenty-four-year old Jae (Mischa Barton) is released from prison, she returns home to small-town Ridgecrest, California. It’s the last place she wants to be, with the judgement of the town, old friends, and old ghosts. She decides to join her brother Robin (Jackson Davis) and his girlfriend Rosemary (Winter Ave Zoli) on a road trip to “Burn the Moon”, a music festival in Death Valley. Linking up with a trio of idiosyncratic characters along the way, the group ends up getting impossibly lost amongst the three-million acres of salt flats, sand dunes, vistas and winding dirt roads. To survive they will have to overcome both the dangerous terrain and each other.

Jae is a released felon looking for a fresh with the brother she left behind. The two pick right up where they left off and Jae quickly finds herself on a trip to Death Valley with her brother and a small group of new friends. The reason why she’s been in the pen is also revealed as the story plays out. Anyway, things don’t go as planned and they break down in route and end up partying the night away and this is where things really start to get bad. Tragedy strikes and the group sets up in full blown panic mode. They find themselves lost in the middle of this unforgiving desolate region that’s full of danger and low on hope. They’re lost and with each step they take, even more gloom and doom sets in. This is where things go from bad to worse. This intense trip turns into a complete nightmare for this small group of people who only wanted to go check out a concert. Needless to say, they never make it to the concert.

The story for Deserted is a good one with a simple formula. A small group of friends get stranded out in the middle of nowhere so let’s see how they handle it. Not good! Ashley Avis did a good job setting this situation up and capturing it all as everything plays out. The cast did a great job with their interesting characters and each one had a little something to bring to the table. The location also helps to tell the story because it really looks like they’re stranded in the desert with no hope. It’s a beautiful location but it can be a deadly one! The movie itself is more of a drama with a little thriller thrown in at times. It’s definitely a character study that centers around this group that has to change from party mode to survival mode – and not all of them know how to do this.

Bottom line is, Deserted ended up being a pretty good watch. The movie kind of got off to a slow start but once the group breaks down in the desert, the pacing picks up and it doesn’t slow down until the finale. There’s all kinds of music festivals that take place out in the middle of nowheresville and this one is a makeshift “Burning Man” that the small group heads off to on their doomed trip. Ashley Avis did a good job telling the story and capturing the relationships (both good and bad) as well as the dread that mounts as the movie plays out. I thought all of the acting was great and it’s nice to see Mischa Barton do her thing in another lead role. She doesn’t really get the mainstream roles since “The OC” days but she’s a really talented actress. This dramatic thriller arrives on all major VOD outlets and Digital HD on February 28th and is worth checking out.

Distributor: Invincible Pictures

Run Time: 98 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated


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