Abigail REVIEW – Too Much to Sink Your Teeth Into

Abigail movie
Abigail movie

Abigail is a film that’s trying so hard to be the next cult horror-comedy, it’s almost a joke itself.

Fans of the genre are probably well aware this was made by Radio Silence, the filmmaking team behind Ready or Not, Scream, and Scream 6, but while they’re a clearly talented team, they also need to learn how to practice some serious restraint. Someone needs to be there to tell them when they’re being too messy, too ambitious, and too desperate to impress.

Abigail follows a team of kidnappers who hold the 12-year-old daughter of a rich figure captive in exchange for a $50 million ransom. This young girl’s name is Abigail (Alisha Weir), and only one team member is allowed to see her, a woman with the codename Joey (Melissa Barrera). At first, Joey is convinced Abigail’s just a helpless little girl who loves ballet and can’t fight back. When members of the team start dying one by one, though, everyone still alive realizes the girl they kidnapped is no other kid — she’s a vampire, eager to hunt them down one by one.

One big problem with Abigail is the film’s decision to keep its titular character’s true nature a secret for the entirety of its first act. The kills are mostly off-camera and the movie even goes so far as to try to make it seem like one of the kidnappers could be the killer. It’s understandable why the characters would be completely unaware that Abigail is the killer, but why is the movie acting like the audience is in the same boat, too?

The film’s title is Abigail. The poster’s tagline is, “Children can be such monsters.” The trailers have made it clear Abigail isn’t to be trusted. Everyone watching is aware Abigail isn’t what she seems, so the movie’s first act mystery doesn’t work at all and just feels tedious. This also means that by the end of the first act, the film goes from a whodunit slasher to a supernatural horror, and this genre transition feels a little too rough to immediately be on board with.

When the vampire camp does start, though, it’s so over-the-top that it’s hard not to groan at how ridiculous certain scenes and quotes get. Abigail feels less like a film with a coherent narrative and more like a string of self-indulgent set pieces that could be watched on their own as clips on YouTube.

A lot of it is rather unoriginal, too. Present are the tropes of a young child cursing, a young child being evil in general, constant sarcasm in the face of horror, references to The Exorcist, and most especially, the repeated joke of Abigail liking to dance while she does monstrous things. Not only does this get old quickly, but the gag of a young creepy character doing a silly dance has just recently been done by M3GAN and Wednesday, both having come out less than two years ago.

Abigail is an hour and fifty minutes long, and that lengthy runtime is felt the most during its third act, which is downright exhausting. It’s the filmmakers throwing every idea they have at the wall and seeing what sticks, and because of that, nothing sticks. Every time you think the film’s about to end, it just keeps going, as if it’s afraid to leave any stone unturned.

That said, Abigail is, at least, never boring, and the cast is evidently having a ton of fun with their respective characters. Every single actor is given plenty to do with their roles, even the ones who play the early slasher victims of the film, and when certain characters die, it’s slightly a bummer knowing they won’t be showing up in the movie again. Every cast member is giving it their all — they’re almost worth the admission price alone.

Unfortunately, Abigail is too concerned with being a cult classic that it forgets to, first and foremost, be a good film. Abigail herself may be addicted to ballet, but where that type of dance is intricate, meticulous, and focused, this film is more like a freestyle at a rave — chaotic, haphazard, and tiring once it’s over.

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Abigail movie
There’s a good film in Abigail somewhere, especially with such a dedicated cast, but the overflowing of ideas and the lack of restraint from the filmmakers result in a messy, incoherent, and even smug final product.