April 19, 2024
By: Daniel Schwartz | April 18th, 2024

ABIGAIL was anticipated to deliver a captivating mix of horror and dark humor, featuring the up-and-coming talent Angus Cloud in what was expected to be a villainous portrayal. Yet, the final outcome falls short, presenting a disjointed and disappointing experience that doesn't fulfill its promising premise.

The story revolves around Abigail (portrayed by Alisha Weir), a seemingly pure-hearted ballerina concealing a centuries-old secret – she's a vampire. Abducted by a disparate group of felons led by the ominous Lambert (played by Giancarlo Esposito), Abigail swiftly shifts the balance of power, seizing control from her captors within the confines of an isolated mansion.

In ABIGAIL, directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, known for their work on "Ready or Not," infuse the film with a hefty dose of gore and exaggerated violence. However, their efforts to inject humor into the narrative often miss the mark. The dialogue, aiming for wit and edge, comes across as forced, and the portrayal of the kidnapper crew leans more towards caricature than memorable characters. Enduring their incessant bickering and predictable one-liners amidst imminent danger quickly becomes a tedious task.

Angus Cloud, celebrated for his intricate depiction of Fezco in "Euphoria," appears somewhat miscast in the role of Dean, the volatile, gun-toting criminal. However, Dean lacks the authentic intimidation factor, coming across as more of a caricature than a genuine threat. Cloud's portrayal feels somewhat constrained, as if grappling to inject depth into a character that is underdeveloped on paper.

In ABIGAIL, the spotlight belongs to the youthful talent, Alisha Weir. With mesmerizing skill, she embodies the titular character, seamlessly transitioning between wide-eyed innocence and a primal, predatory nature. Weir's portrayal of Abigail is marked by cunning and calculation, employing her appearance as a tool for manipulation. This nuanced depiction elevates her beyond the typical gangster adversaries, rendering her a captivating and complex villainess.

Regrettably, the film's rhythm is plagued by inconsistency. Initially, it races through Abigail's abduction, lacking the necessary build-up of tension before diving headlong into chaotic scenes of violence. Conversely, the middle segment of the movie meanders, featuring repetitive and lackluster pursuit scenes within the sprawling mansion. The ultimate showdown, meant to be a thrilling climax, hurtles forward with an onslaught of CGI blood and effects, culminating in a tidy resolution that feels contrived.

Striving to replicate the triumph of "Ready or Not," Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett find themselves tripping over their own aspirations. Although the mansion setting provides a hint of gothic ambiance, the movie sorely lacks a profound feeling of confinement and anticipation. The absence of a gradual escalation and suspense renders certain killing scenes gratuitous rather than rightfully earned.

Moreover, by opting to portray the vampire aspect in a comedic light, the genuine potential for horror is undermined. "Abigail" had the opportunity to emerge as a deeply unsettling horror flick, exploring themes of innocence lost and the insidious influence of authority. Yet, it settles for facile humor and worn-out clich├ęs, trivializing even its most grim themes.

ABIGAIL does have its highlights. Weir's portrayal is captivating, and certain aspects of the makeup and effects stand out with genuine impressiveness. However, the enjoyment is overshadowed by inconsistent tones and a script that lacks depth, leaving viewers feeling unsatisfied. Those in search of a genuinely chilling or entertaining vampire tale will find themselves let down.

ABIGAIL is in theaters April 19th, 2024.

Rating: 2 out of 5
Daniel SchwartzDaniel Schwartz (Contributor) is a New Jersey native who loves watching movies. His favorite genres include action, comedies, and sci-fi.

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