“Abigail” Review | Familiar Bite, Bloody Good Time

Directed by the filmmaking duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, known for their work on the recent Scream VI and Ready or Not, Abigail is a stylish and suspenseful horror film that delivers scares and gore in equal measure. The isolated mansion setting becomes a character itself, its looming presence adding to the sense of dread as the criminals become trapped in a deadly game of cat and mouse with a bloodthirsty vampire.

The story kicks off as a crew of audacious criminals led by the steely-eyed Frank (Dan Stevens) attempts a daring kidnapping, only to find themselves stranded in a secluded mansion that’s more “House on Haunted Hill” than a luxurious getaway. But the cobwebs and dust are the least of their worries. As night falls, a far more terrifying threat emerges; a young vampire named Abigail (Alisha Weir), whose porcelain skin and youthful innocence belie a ferocious bloodlust.

Enter Joey (Melissa Barrera), the quick-witted and resourceful member of the crew who emerges as the unlikely hero. Barrera is a revelation, her performance radiating a captivating mix of determination and vulnerability as she rallies the dwindling survivors. Weir, on the other hand, is chillingly effective as Abigail, a creature both monstrous and pitiable, her childlike demeanor masking a primal hunger. The supporting cast, including the ever-reliable Kathryn Newton as the tech-savvy Sammy, holds their own amidst the carnage, adding depth and unexpected humor to the desperate struggle for survival.

abigail

Now, Abigail doesn’t exactly reinvent the horror wheel. The core concept owes a debt to classic films like From Dusk Till Dawn and even the directors’ previous work, Ready or Not. But where it might lack groundbreaking originality, it compensates with sheer entertainment value. The filmmakers wear their influences on their sleeve, crafting a love letter to the genre that gleefully delivers jump scares, gruesome practical effects, and a relentless pace that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Abigail is a sensory feast for horror aficionados. The opulent decay of the mansion provides a hauntingly beautiful backdrop for the bloody ballet of survival. The sound design is equally impressive, with every creak of the floorboard and chilling hiss amplifying the tension. And let’s not forget the gore! The practical effects are wonderfully gruesome, offering a level of detail that will make even the most jaded horror fan wince.

So, is Abigail a groundbreaking masterpiece of horror cinema? Perhaps not. But it’s a wildly entertaining ride nonetheless, a fangtastic blend of familiar chills and bloody good fun. If you’re looking for a horror film with strong performances, practical effects that pack a punch, and a healthy dose of scares, then sink your teeth into Abigail. Just don’t forget the popcorn (and maybe a friend to scream with).

About Abigail

Synopsis: After a group of criminals kidnap the ballerina daughter of a powerful underworld figure, they retreat to an isolated mansion, unaware that they’re locked inside with no normal little girl.

Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett

Writers: Stephen Shields, Guy Busick

Cast: Melissa Barrera, Alisha Weir, Dan Stevens, William Catlett, Kathryn Newton, Kevin Durand, Angus Cloud, Giancarlo Esposito, Matthew Goode

Rated: R

Runtime: 1h 49m

Releases: April 19, 2024

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