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Beneath all the gore and violence of Abigail, a horror-comedy film, is redemption. The girl’s mother becomes the parent she never was to her own offspring and the daughter gets care and protection that was absent in her home. Such pathos are unusual for movies like this, but they never take away from its thrills – or from the fact that the mother is one of a bunch of kidnappers and the daughter is a vampire princess abducting meant to wear a tutu.

The newest film by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett- directors of Scream VI is laced with enough killer one-liners to rouse even most comatose energies of humor – it combines themes from Hotel Transylvania films, slasher flick mechanics, as well as “one last job” crime thriller setup. In tone, setting and structure it has enough similarities to be considered a spiritual sequel to Bettinelli-Olpin & Gillett’s Ready or Not; only this time we have an even crazier version of that sleeper hit about rich people hunting other rich people which happened in some ancient building.

What makes this movie interesting is not only its charm but also the collection of veteran crooks who should pull off quite a lucrative assignment: kidnapping young ballerina Abigail (Alisha Weir) and demanding huge ransom from his affluent father. Imagine Scooby-Doo gang members if they had checkered pasts and had just met before going on their first trip with Mystery Machine. It looks more organic when we see how their reactions are formed along with their apprehension because they are just acquainting themselves into friendship. They have decided not give out their real names so that in case any one them happens to be caught there will be anonymity; for this mission their suave boss Giancarlo Esposito calls them by code names.

Joey (Melissa Barrera), who will look after Abigail while the crew is inside a lavishly decorated mansion, is the least bad of kidnappers and therefore our favorite. Guy Busick and Stephen Shields have used these archetypes to maximum comedic effect except for military veteran Rickles (William Catlett) whose role as Joey’s sudden love interest barely goes anywhere.

Frank (Dan Stevens) – according to what Joey has deduced about him – is a dirty cop, Sammy (Kathryn Newton) is a 20-something hacker from moneyed family, Dean (late Angus Cloud in his final film appearance) is an underage getaway driver, and Quebecois gentle giant Peter (Kevin Durand) constitutes their brainless muscle. How does Joey fit in here? She’s an ex-addict haunted by maternal guilt. It’s this sense of duty to her child that forms an emotional bond between Joey and abandoned Abigail.

Barrera also stars in genre fare such as Bettinelli-Olpin & Gillett’s ill-fated Scream comeback and Your Monster–an unconventional romantic comedy from last year. In Abigail, there’s a bruised determination to her gaze that communicates the significance of Joey’s objective. That self-assuredness gave songs from musicals like Carmen and In The Heights weightiness; it makes even more impact when applied to final girl surviving one night with vampire. There is never any doubt that she has both brains and guile with which she can survive. And Barrera makes us believe this because she has purpose too.

The people who filmed the movie did not show any other scenes as they focused on the ongoing chaotic situation in that house; they instead gave a brief background information. The early revelation of Abigail being a vampire-born child, and herself also being one, kicks off two hunts: the mansion-bound kidnappers who become preys for Abigail in her most slouchy manner while feeding on her “guests.”

Weir’s frenzied twirlings begin to be monotonous but she ends up with an engagingly mischievous portrayal at the close. She does excellently when Abigail refuses to bow down to Frank’s lust for power thereby making him look like one of the characters out of ‘’The Lost Boys’’. (Dan Stevens’ continuing habit of playing bizarre yet funny villains is not about to stop – next month he will appear as another one in Cuckoo.) As Joey becomes more than just a friend for Abigail, it brings some excitement into the movie without crossing its boundaries.

Abigail possesses few good jump scares and lots of blood which make it less horror film. Nevertheless, what makes this movie worth watching all through is its consistent comedy starting from satirizing well-known vampire clichés to stupid delinquents’ woeful bungling attempts at getting rid of a supernatural menace. Its parts are far from original but nearly perfect timing in jokes and choice of actors awarding to Abigail status of an over-the-top fan favorite whose tongue-in-cheek humor usually takes you by surprise.


When viewed broadly till now, Abigail seems like amalgamation brought about from combination of several sources, however, that said (apart from few exceptions) performers seem connected with each other while remaining on dark humor level thus making things coherent enough. Each one is almost spot-on after every blood-soaked joke because their chemistry works well together. At the center of mayhem Melissa Barrera as an anti-heroine who is sane and has every intention of accepting her own mistakes. By playing it entirely straight, her solemn performance adds balance to the movie and its bite-your-face-off wit.

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