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Review: Radio Silence’s ABIGAIL

Oh, Abigail. You really should have performed better at the box office, but you fell victim to a marketing team that didn’t quite know what to do with you. At least in my opinion. Some viewers hailed Abigail as a remake of Dracula’s Daughter, but the two films share very little similarities. The trailer looks like a dark thriller and switches to horror at the end, if potential viewers make it that far. The promotional materials make it look like a ballerina movie, and although that’s definitely present in the movie, it’s not the leading plot point. Because, let’s be serious, directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett have made hit after hit after hit, I need someone else to point a finger at… because I thoroughly enjoyed this vampire flick while watching on demand on Friday.

From directors Olipin and Gillett, based on the screenplay by Stephen Shields and Guy Busick, Abigail hit theaters in April via Universal Pictures and I know people were excited to see Melissa Barrera on the big screen again following the whole Scream 7 drama. Shot under Project X Entertainment, Vinson Films and Radio Silence Productions, Abigail finds an incredible cast comprised of Barrera, Alisha Weir, Dan Stevens, Kathryn Newton, Will Catlett, Kevin Durand, Angus Cloud, and Giancarlo Esposito. The cast is a who’s who of celebrities who all turned in great, capable and sometimes funny performances. What I’m saying here is, the movie didn’t fail at the box office because of the cast and crew. They’re all-stars, honestly, and I don’t have a single critique for them.

Abigail follows a small group of professional criminals as they kidnap a young girl in hopes of forcing her very, very rich father to pay for her ransom. What the criminals don’t know, however, is they picked the wrong family to fuck with. A cat and mouse game soon takes over the safe-house and no one is who they appear to be. Abigail takes mostly in one location, but it’s a great location. Like, stellar. It becomes a character all on its own and genre fans may recognize it’s styling from another flick. It’s also the home to a series of bloodbaths. I know it’s hard to show blood and guts on television because of parental guidance and what not, but Abigail is an absolute waterfall of red and this is the type of material that should have been broadcast to potential viewers. Unique kills, quick kills, kills that you don’t expect… they’re all gruesome and horrifying and exactly what horror fans need!

And the second most important point to this movie is it’s creative and unique and it doesn’t fall into traditional horror stereotypes. I thought I had the kill list in order and plot twists pegged from the first 20 minutes, but Abigail kept me on my toes throughout the entire viewing. It’s a slow-burn story that switches from action to horror on a dime and the suspense and hysteria grows over time. This is what horror should be, a story that gradually leads you to the climax and not shock and awe from the jump. Unfortunately, this idea gets lost in translation when it came to the promotional train. I highly encourage anyone who reads this review to watch Abigail on demand or purchase the Blu-ray when it hits shelves. I really think you’re going to find an enchanting vampire story that you weren’t expecting. I’d watch it again!

Final Score: 8.50 out of 10

 

Michael DeFellipo

(Senior Editor)

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