Abducted (2020)

There’s nothing like a free week of Showtime to expose you to a new flick. And having the reliable Scout Taylor-Compton (Rob Zombie’s Halloween reboots, 2019’s Eternal Code, 2020’s upcoming Getaway starring Lane Caudell)—if you haven’t figured out by the title—in this abduction thriller, is an added bonus.

I first assumed this was the latest in the long line of writer-director Steven C. Miller’s serviceable action-thrillers packed with morally-screwed characters, such as the Bruce Willis-starring First Kill (2017), the Nicolas Cage-starring Arsenal (2018), and the Aaron Eckhart-starring Line of Duty (2019).

Abducted is actually the work—the second film—of a new director on the scene, Prince Bagdasarian, who’s amassed an extensive list of credits as an editor (one of his films is the 2009 Werner Herzog-directed Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans starring Nicolas Cage). In 2013, Bagdasarian completed his first feature film, Abstraction, a crime drama revolving around the heist of a million dollar painting, starring Eric Roberts (who just released his own action-thriller, Lone Star Deception).

Still dealing with the death of his wife, U.S. military veteran Dane Hunte (Daniel Joseph) now works as a truck driver to support his young daughter, Eden (the film’s original title was Diverted Eden), while his gay brother-in-law, Todd (LGBT actor Michael Urie from TV’s Ugly Betty), looks after the child.

A violent home invasion—that seems to be connected to Hunte’s military past—at Todd’s house leaves his partner in a coma and Eden kidnapped. In steps the resourceful Detective Fini (Scout Taylor-Compton) assigned to the case. But as is the case with these action-thrillers, the law is useless, so the ex-solider works his shady contacts and stocks his arsenal for a “scorched earth” solution that takes him into the city’s criminal underbelly.

While Taylor-Compton’s name is on the box, this is clearly Daniel Joseph’s show—and he excels in his feature film debut. Taylor-Compton’s casting in the film as its selling point (it made me watch), instead of Bruce Willis or Nicolas Cage, as is the case with most of these direct-to-video potboilers, is appreciated—especially when her ass-kicking, neon-lit club scene unfolds. In addition to having Hunte’s immediate family as a gay couple, kudos also applies to Bagdasarian creating a deaf character in the film for Hunte’s war buddy (who’s involved in the invasion-kidnapping), played by real-life deaf actor Michael Anthony Spady.

While IMDb user-reviews haven’t been kind, I found Abduction to be a wonderful, accidental discovery and a great example that Prince Bagdasarian is a writer and director worth following for his future works: he works his tight budgets with skill. In addition to watching Abduction as a Showtime exclusive (it premiered March 1) on their cable TV platforms, you can watch it on their Showtime Anytime online platform and stream it on Hulu. You can also watch Bagdasarian’s debut, Abstraction, as a free-with-ads stream on TubiTV and watch the trailer on You Tube.

The film’s award wins to date, are:

  • The People’s Choice Award for “Best Director” at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival.
  • “Excellence In Film,” “Best Editing Feature,” and “Best Cinematography Feature” at the Action on Film International Film Festival.
  • “Audience Award” at the ARPA International Film Festival.
  • “Best Editing” at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival.

Prince Bagdasarian recently announced his third and fourth features have gone into production: Bluebird and Uncontrolled. In his press release, he revealed the plot for Bluebird: Trapped during a bank robbery, a young girl with telekinetic powers evades capture and unleashes havoc against the secret government agency that has seized control of her isolated, small town.

You can learn more about those two films, and more, courtesy of Prince’s interview with Voyage LA Magazine. He previously spoke on the digital pages of Pop Horror. You can follow Prince’s work — with lots of great behind-the-scenes production stills — at PIB Productions Facebook.

Disclaimer: We didn’t receive a screener copy of this film. We discovered it on Showtime all on our own and enjoyed the movie.

About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.