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  • Writer's pictureJamie

Abigail - Review

I don’t know about you but just about anything in a film can be fixed with a high stakes, bloodbath, insane final act. I will immediately forgive any flaws in a film if the end is a survivor walking out of the situation, battered and bruised, with the sun coming up on the journey they have just been on. Abigail is just like this, a rocky start and a slow pickup speed, but once it gets going, it is all fun and stupidity. This film isn’t afraid to be a cliche or follow tropes, it just knows that when it does follow the trope, that it's going to have a good time with it. It also balances the horror and humour really nicely so that you’re not feeling a massive shift when a joke is made or there is a jump scare.

We’re straight into the action with a heist, bringing six criminals together in order to kidnap a child ballerina. They all have their very classic set of skills that make them a great team in the business of criminality. Without any major hitches, they kidnap the child and take her to a remote mansion, where their boss, Lambert (Giancarlo Esposito) is waiting for them. He lets them know that the mission is an easy one, to hold out in the manor for 24 hours, hoping to get a fifty million dollar ransom payment and split it between them. They are not allowed to know each other's name, with Lambert assigning each of them a name instead. Only Joey (Melissa Barrera) is allowed to go in anc check on the child, Abigail (Alisha Weir). Obviously this plan goes awry and it is revealed that Abigail isn’t just some billionaire’s child, she is a tiny little ballerina that also happens to be a centuries old vampire that is out for blood. The film turns from a kidnapping to a survival horror comedy that twists and turns and explodes in the goriest ways it can.

The film is light on scares, so if you’re not too fussed about gore, I think it’s a generally easy watch, a good time with an engaging story and a really entertaining leading performance from Alisha Weir as Abigail. Mellisaa Berrera is showing off that she doesn’t need Scream to be interesting and a treat in the horror genre. Kathryn Newton feels like the new scream queen, with this and Lisa Frankenstien under her belt, she knows exactly how to do this flavour of horror. 

While the scares are light, the jump scares are set up well and have some good payoff in the classic ways of fakeouts and double fakeouts. The comedy is a welcome addition, feeling like the film knows what it is, especially in how they write Abigail as a character. 

The look of the film is pretty strong, with some nice set design as we’re locked in this stately manor. We get the diversity of the grand rooms and the dingy back rooms with eerie atmospheres, keeping up the intrigue of the final act of the film.

My main issue with the film is the beginning, as it teases a mystery of what is going to happen for a long time, when even without looking at the trailer, the poster and title of the film give away enough to know that Abigail is the antagonist. Its a strange narrative choice when we could have spent that time developing our crew, whereas we get a little bit of that crammed in, while focusing on what could be going on.

So overall, I wish it was more fun more quickly, because once it gets going properly, it does shine a lot more than I expected it to. There is a simplicity in how the vampires are depicted, not trying to reinvent the monster with new rules that we have to learn. Everything we expect from a vampire is how it works, which is a nice safety net to be in, knowing what our characters are working towards without it being explicitly laid out.


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