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Movie Review: Abigail



 

“There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter.” - Ernest Hemingway


When the movie was over I called my mom just to check in. I told her what movie I just saw and she asked how it was. I said, “It was really funny actually.” As someone who doesn’t watch horror movies, my mom was expectedly perplexed. Abigail and movies like it are stories you either understand or you don’t; rarely is there ever a middle ground where you get it but you simply don’t like it. These are all in kinds of features. It’s the same thing as a metalhead. You either appreciate the music with the loud screaming (as opposed to the quiet screaming?) or you absolutely loathe it. 



Abigail has a lot going for it but what makes it truly work, and work well, is being fully aware of what it is and sticking to it no matter how ridiculous it may cause the story to become. Maintaining its identity throughout allows it to make some completely outlandish story decisions. The best thing Abigail achieves is maintaining its humor. Even when gallons of blood and gore are exploding into every nook and cranny, as heads are literally rolling and insides are becoming outsides, it still has the ability to make you chuckle. In fact sometimes the very thing that’s funny is how far it actually goes with the horror elements. It might sound a bit crazy but who isn’t a little… touched, these days? 



Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, creators of Ready or Not and Scream VI have demonstrated a style of their own that can be felt in each of their cinematic endeavors. I would even go so far as to think of Abigail as a spiritual sequel to Ready or Not. The humorous violence, the absurd premises and the batshit insane finales both feel as if they’re cut from the same cloth. And as much as Ready or Not went for the throat, Abigail while still being comedic in nature unquestionably has more of a mean streak to it. The titular character and predominant antagonist dances and twirls as she pursues her “food” but then immediately rips these people to shreds and does so with an all too happy demeanor. See it’s a happy movie, just also incredibly twisted.



Abigail is an unassuming girl whose father clearly comes from money. She practices ballet at a professional dance theater and is driven home when she’s done in a Rolls Royce. She arrives at a massive estate where rather than parents waiting to greet her, it's wait staff. Only one night, after a successful night of pliés and pirouettes it isn’t a personal chef or butler waiting for her. No, on this night it’s a team of skilled individuals intending to take her for ransom. Once they have her all that is asked of them is to keep her isolated and wait twenty-four hours and they will all walk away with seven figure paydays. Nothing to it, right? Right? 


What transpires over the next several hours is nothing short of hell on earth. At once these professional criminals go from a reality where the supernatural are merely things written about in stories of fantasy and make-believe to a reality where creatures of the night are not only very real, they are in hot pursuit with malevolence as her main driving force. They are trapped and being hunted by an apex predator. I’d say it could be worse but that’s about as bad as it gets.   



Alisha Weir is Abigail and she absolutely devours this role. She is all of 90 lbs and five feet tall and yet becomes a force of ferocity and strength not to be reckoned with. Her captors are an array of individuals thrown into a situation they could never imagine possible. Their arrogance and criminal tendencies often interfere with their ability to properly navigate a situation they will only survive together. As Abigail, Weir manipulates, pokes and prods her victims into a whirlwind of paranoia and barbarism that can only lead to their collective downfall. She portrays a relishing of torturing these people as her playthings only to ultimately dismember and eradicate them beyond recognition. She is a cruel, lively character and Weir plays her with an emphatic enthusiasm that really makes this whole work as well as it does. She is brilliant as Abigail.


The tropes of vampires and the so-called “rules” are all these characters have to go by in hopes of defeating such a formidable creature. And their discovery of what works and what doesn’t is one of the funniest parts of this whole thing. Trying to differentiate between garlic and onions, finding proper stakes for classic heart piercing and hoping for strength and guidance with a crucifix in hand, they’re just trying their best. She only has hundreds of years of experience on her side but hey, they have garlic cloves. 



Abigail is dark and sadistic and revels in it with a contagious kind of glee. It pushes the envelope and lets you decide where you draw your line. I personally laughed at every bit of it so I’m not sure what that says about me exactly. The violence is startling, it’s sudden and unforgiving. Each character feels expendable and as the night goes on, we quickly learn alongside them there are fates worse than death. The character of Abigail is gloriously entertaining and her potential for future “dinner dates” are vast and enticing to consider. If you love Ready or Not as I do, Abigail will satiate your thirst for violent zaniness as well as a certain amount of brave exploration in the genres of both comedy and horror. All this embarrassing attempt at being intellectual and articulate aside, Abigail is, simply put, a total blast. 


Angus Cloud - REST IN PEACE

Rated R For: strong bloody violence and gore throughout, pervasive language and brief drug use

Runtime: 109 minutes

After Credits Scene: No

Genre: Horror, Thriller, Comedy

Starring: Melissa Barrera, Dan Stevens, Alisha Weir, Kathryn Newton

Directed By: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett


Out of 10

Story: 8/ Acting: 9/ Directing: 9/ Visuals: 8.5

OVERALL: 8.5/10


Buy to Own: Yes.

 

Check out the trailer below:


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