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Abigail Review

April 19, 2024 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Abigail Image Credit: Universal Pictures
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Abigail Review  

Directed By: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
Written By: Stephen Shields and Guy Busick
Runtime: 90 minutes
MPA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence and gore throughout, pervasive language and brief drug use.

Melissa Barrera – Joey
Alisha Weir – Abigail
Dan Stevens – Frank
Kathryn Newton – Sammy
Kevin Durand – Peter
William Catlett – Rickles
Angus Cloud – Dean
Giancarlo Esposito – Lambert

Directing duo Radio Silence (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett) presents a fun, fresh new twist on the vampire horror thriller with the new film Abigail. A group of unsuspecting con artists takes on a lucrative job that entails kidnapping a seemingly innocent 12-year-old girl, Abigail (Weir). They are tasked by their contact Lambert (Esposito) to watch the girl at a gothic mansion for the night. However, the crew soon discovers they are the true prey as something wicked is hunting them.

Abigail provides a familiar premise, depicting an ensemble group gradually getting hunted down in a single location overnight. However, Radio Silence executes the premise with a great deal of post-modern charm and energy, along with an appropriate R-rated bloodbath. Abigail opens with a gradual introduction of members of a heist crew, and the film stages the opening act like an elaborate heist-thriller. As the plot transitions to the isolated mansion, the horror angle for Abigail unfolds. The “Rat Pack” crew realizes they are being hunted by an undead vampire, and they are trapped with no means of escape.

While the trailers and marketing materials spoil the film’s big twist, Abigail still features some fun surprises and twists throughout Stephen Shields and Guy Busick’s tight, lean script. Once Abigail reveals her dark secret, the film becomes a suspenseful game of cat and mouse. Ironically, the crooks, who just spent the entire first act voluntarily kidnapping a little girl, are now the movie’s designated protagonists. The premise work well due to the main ensemble’s casting, with each actor expertly fulfilling their position within the heist crew.

Each actor brings a unique texture and flavor to their role, elevating the heist crew members beyond their simple archetypes. Melissa Barrera unsurprisingly becomes the audience surrogate and central protagonist, and she’s the only one who treats Abigail with compassion and empathy. The actors’ impeccable performances depict the crew as guarding their own secrets and backstories, which eventually come to the surface. Sadly, Giancarlo Esposito is wasted in a thankless role, but it’s exciting to see him appear in the film despite his limited screen time.
The main drawback of Abigail is the slow burn to the big reveal, which was already spoiled by the trailers. A significant portion of the runtime leaves the audience waiting to get to the big reveal that the trailers have already exposed. However, things pick up once Abigail rips off her innocent veneer.

In the final act, the plot starts to burst at the seams and unravels. The plot of Abigail goes bonkers in a fun way, but it takes a few too many twists and turns to get to the climax. The development of the climax is interesting, but it could have used a few less convoluted plot developments. Despite the final act becoming too overwrought, the film still provides a satisfying conclusion.

Also, Alisha Weir delivers a star-making performance as Abigail, portraying a potentially difficult role, but she performs the character with utter charisma and glee. Weir has the potential to become a new horror icon with her performance, and there’s a potential for Abigail to become a franchise starter. However, due to the big reveal, the filmmakers should hurry as they will probably only be able to deliver one or two more films starring Weir as Abigail.

Abigail works best if the viewer knows as little as possible and is in the mood for a bloody good time.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Abigail provides a fun, fresh, and intriguing twist to vampiric horror thrillers. It features a great cast and directors getting the most out of torturing a small group of individuals stuck in a gothic mansion with an ancient evil. The actors perform incredibly well, elevating their characters beyond overused tropes and conventions. Despite their wicked motivations, the movie inspires the audience to root for this crew to survive against their adversary. Abigail presents a bloody good time.