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Abigail(2024)(Review)

The Radio Silence team (Scream 5 & 6, Ready or Not) have brought us a new piece of fun, entertaining horror through this year’s hotly anticipated ‘Abigail’. As a journalist, there is one glaring challenge however – do we go ahead and pretend that most people don’t already know what’s going on with this film, or do we speak honestly for a more accurate analysis?

Well, this particular review will be in the vain of the latter. Hell, you can hardly even find many promotional photos to advertise this film with that aren’t spoiler in nature.

If you, somehow, have no idea what this movie is about, do yourself a favor and go see it before it’s ruined for you. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into it.

‘Abigail’ tells the story of a team of unfamiliar, organized criminals who are hired by a rich man to abduct a young ballerina and hold her ransom. They are told her father is an even richer man and they plan to keep her safe and tucked away for 24 hours in hopes of receiving $50 million. Of course, things are not as they seem.

The team of criminals is composed of crowd favorites such as Melissa Barrera, Kathryn Newton, Dan Stevens, Giancarlo Esposito, and so much more. It also serves as the standout performance of up-and-comer Alisha Weir as the titular Abigal, and a post-humous performance by Angus Cloud. Each member of this criminal team serves an almost stereo-typical facet to the plan (with one being the hacker, one the muscle, one the leader, one the sedative expert, one the getaway driver, etc.) which is almost cartoonish in it’s execution – but ultimately it works to serve the purpose. The backstories are explained through a pretty overt scene where a bar-room game is being played where they try to guess each other’s history and purpose as they kill time while watching the little girl.

One by one, the criminals begin to die in mysterious ways. The movie itself plays the role of being ignorant to the reveal of who the killer is – but anybody whose seen a poster or trailer for this film already knows what’s going on. This movie has been advertised so intensely by Universal & Bloody-Disgusting both that we can’t ignore the fact that this is the ballerina vampire movie. This does create a strange and muddy narrative where the film plays it out like a grand ‘gotcha’ reveal like ‘From Dusk Til Dawn’ did decades ago – but it’s safe to say that 4/5 audience members are already aware of everything going on. One could certainly argue that if they chose to keep the reveal of the film an actual secret, that most people wouldn’t have gone to see it – I know I certainly wouldn’t have.

Throwing that bit of logic to the side – ‘Abigail’ is still a fun time through and through. The violence is bloody and fun, the setting is beautifully crafted, the dialogue is meta in nature which does work well here, and all the actors sell their roles 100%. If you enjoyed the previous works by the Radio Silence team, you’ll be happy to know that that’s exactly the vibe and style you get here. This movie feels (and is actually confirmed) to fit within the ‘Ready or Not’ universe.

As a longtime horror fan, my only real complaint would be the predictability factor. Not only did I already know what the major reveal was before I even got to the theater, but the multiple twists and turns that the story and characters develop through are also very predictable. It impedes the immersion-factor quite a bit, but not enough to ruin the experience.

Hey, coming from a guy who generally doesn’t like vampire films (I think I can only name 3 I actually love), I would still recommend this film. It works as gateway horror like how 2017’s ‘IT’ did – where it’s got a family-friendly flare that co-mingles with it’s overtly bloody and traditional gothic ambience. But this is literally just this year’s “M3GAN” if they had released the violent cut originally.

Come for the vampire ballerina, stay for the popcorn-munching fun and light-hearted tone that accompanies what are otherwise traditional tropes of old-school Universal monster movies.

3/5
“Abigail” is currently playing in theaters.

‘Til Next Time,
Mike Cleopatra

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