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"Abigail" Review

The elevator pitch for Abigail is a model of brevity: An ersatz group of criminals kidnap a young girl and are to hole up in a mansion with her for 24 hours until a $50 million ransom is paid. The problem is that they are locked in without their cell phones and the girl is a VAMPIRE who begins knocking them off! (Not a spoiler, literally the selling point in the trailer.) Hijinx ensue.

 There's not much more to recap than that and just as with Damsel spending too much time vamping its first act as if we don't know where it's going (again, the trailers sell the twists), we get to spend over 40 minutes meeting the crew assembled by mastermind Lambert (Giancarlo Esposito). There's obvious Final Girl Joey (Melissa Barrera, Scream V & VI) who seems wrong for a life of crime; twitchy hard case Frank (Dan Stevens, Downtown Abbey!); dumb French-Canuckian muscle Peter (Kevin Durand); sniper Rickles (Will Catlett); annoying hacker chick Sammy (Kathryn Newton, as annoying as she was in Lisa Frankenstein); and creepy wheelman Dean (Angus Cloud, Euphoria, who the movie is dedicated to as he died of an OD in 2023).

The time is spent fleshing out who these strangers to each other are - the names are dished out my Lambert based on the Rat Pack - and it's interesting, but drags out too long as we wait for the vampire action to begin. But when it does begin, it's off to the races with some killer kills & some plot developments that weren't obvious and kept things fresh as Abigail (Alisha Weir) whips between pretending to be a helpless little ballerina and the monster she truly is.

In thinking about Abigail's above-average quality where the results transcend the premise, I thought about Ready or Not, the 2019 Samara Weaving-starring movie about a bride who spends her wedding night being hunted by her new in-laws in a demonic version of Family Game Night and that turned out to be an apt comparison because directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett helmed that lean mean thriller and subsequent Scream reboot movies. They know how to do "trapped in a mansion" horror well, so I was surprised to see that Abigail was a box office disappointment, most due to a weirdly high budget for a few name stars horror flick.

Other than the first act being twice as long as necessary - we know what the twist is; quit trying to drag things out, filmmakers - Abigail is a bloody good time with good gallows laughs to go with the oceans of blood.

Score: 8/10. Catch it on cable.

Trailer gives away too many good moments. The review sets the premise and is all you need.


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