ABIGAIL (2024)

Genre: Horror/Thriller
Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Cast: Melissa Barrera, Dan Stevens, Alisha Weir, Kathryn Newton, William Catlett, Kevin Durand, Angus Cloud, Giancarlo Esposito
Runtime: 1 hr 49 mins
Rating: M18 (Gore and Coarse Language)
Released By: UIP
Official Website: 

Opening Day: 18 April 2024

Synopsis: Children can be such monsters. After a group of would-be criminals kidnap the 12-year-old ballerina daughter of a powerful underworld figure, all they have to do to collect a $50 million ransom is watch the girl overnight. In an isolated mansion, the captors start to dwindle, one by one, and they discover, to their mounting horror, that they’re locked inside with no normal little girl.

Movie Review:

The supernatural horror unfurls in rich tones of pink, red and black with Abigail slowly gliding across the stage while incorporating relevés and pliés in her satiny pointe shoes. The scene then cuts from the unsuspecting adolescent pirouetting to Swan Lake to a stranger waiting in a dark alley, sucking on a lollipop. It’s time to sink our teeth in to figure out if the horror comedy holds up the hype it has been receiving or it’s just another effort in the reimagining of the 1936 Universal Classic Monsters film, Dracula’s Daughter.

With considerable solidarity within the group dynamic, it becomes apparent that it's an inside job to have them turned against one another. The modus operandi? To divide and conquer, of course! No weapons, stakes, crucifix and even garlic works to subdue the demonic ball of energy and with no names, no backstories and gadgets taken away, it becomes a question if they are ready to throw each other under the bus or if they would get innovative in their slaying.

Surprisingly, the page turner with a plot that hinges close to the margins of Don't Breathe film franchise takes after M3GAN's idiosyncrasy than the intensity of The Exorcist. And this makes us want to revisit the question, "Whatever happens to putting horror back in horror?" 

The Irish actress and singer Alisha Weir who rose to stardom with her performance in the film, Matilda the Musical, plays the titular character in Abigail. The 14-year-old delivers an unrivalled performance with her witty dialogues and creepy mien while neatly sending chills down our backs all while proving that size doesn’t matter at all, even when it comes to draining souls. Speaking of top-tier cast, wouldn't it be great to see more of the Mexican thespian who is no stranger to slasher flicks (Scream 2022, Scream VI, Your Monster), Melissa Barrera, in light-hearted film genres instead of ominous thrillers? She pulls off a decent feat in holding the fort, quite literally, from start till the end in the haunted mansion with her meaty role.

And contributing to the brutal vampire action are Dan Stevens whom you may recall from Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, Kevin Durand whom you will catch in the upcoming actioner, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, Kathryn Newton from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Will Catlett from Constellation. Last but foremost, we had Angus Cloud playing Dean, making Abigail a posthumous release for the Euphoria star who passed on last year (just a week after his dad's demise). It would have been great to have the 25-year-old play Mac Miller in a biopic, given their uncanny appearances. But Cloud had peaceably turned down the offer, responding that he wasn't too ready to play the legend. 

On the downside, if you had been furtively resenting trailers these days where they almost give away the entire plot, we are with you. Sadly, the twists aren't shocking as they are supposed to be. It certainly robs the excitement when the trailer reveals who lives and who doesn't. On a personal note, it would have made a world of difference if Abigail’s identity as an impish predator wasn’t revealed in the trailer in the first place.

With highly predictable tropes of most undead creature films, it does get a little exhausting as Abigail's carnage is experienced in spades (also, it takes a whopping 30 to 40 minutes before the narrative matures into a full-fledged horror number). It felt much like a crime thriller taking a swerve into the alley of supernatural horror. Perhaps, that's what the makers were going for in order to make it work with the genre lovers of this age. And with dope music, savage kills and dark aesthetic, the gore dial was turned all the way up, thus setting the tone for the entire 109 minutes of toothy misadventure. To top it off, it was ridiculously hilarious to see grown semi-criminals wrestling a regular 12-year-old girl and that leads the knee- slapper fall gracefully into the worthy watch category rather than snaring the crown of being an OG Dracula caper. While striking a chord with the masses, given its theme and cinematic elements, it's still a tad too early for this diabolically brilliant Nosferatu spin-off that gives Y2K nostalgia, to be dubbed as the best horror of 2024.

Sucker for bloodsuckers that transcend time? Then this archetypal vamp flick is for keeps. It can't be denied that campy horror is much needed from time to time. While a sequel is highly sensed, Abigail shall be fondly remembered long into the future, since movies dedicated to twirling ballerinas that bare fangs are still recherché.

Movie Rating:



(Kick back and enjoy this bloody ballet that promises splattering gore and snarky lines with subversive humour unravelling in a cool premise)

Review by Asha Gizelle Mariadas


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