Abigail (2024) Movie Review - Awesome Toothy Horror Fun

Horror, Comedy | 109 Min
Cover from vampire horror movie Abigail (2024)
  • Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
  • Actors: Melissa Barrera, Dan Stevens, Kathryn Newton, Will Catlett, Kevin Durand, Angus Cloud, Alisha Weir, Giancarlo Esposito
  • Writers: Stephen Shields, Guy Busick
  • Producers: William Sherak, James Vanderbilt, Paul Neinstein, Tripp Vinson, Chad Villella
  • Country: United States, Canada, Ireland
  • Language: English
  • Parental: Violence, Language, Drug Use, Tons Of Gore
  • Horror, Comedy | 109 Min

After a group of criminals kidnap the ballerina daughter of a powerful underworld figure they retreat to an isolated mansion unaware that they're locked inside with no normal little girl.

Welcome to Knockout Horror. I’m breaking with tradition once again and reviewing something fairly recent. This time it is the fun vampire themed horror comedy Abigail from filmmaking duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and , also known as Radio Silence.

If you are a horror fan you will probably know Radio Silence from their well liked 2019 movie Ready or Not. But I tend to know them more for their respective segments in the horror anthologies V/H/S and Southbound. The pair also directed the most recent entries into the Scream series so that is pretty neat.

I am happy to see them doing so well. I thought their segments in V/H/S and Southbound were pretty effective but I wouldn’t say that they hinted at future horror movie powerhouses. It highlights just how important anthology horror is to introducing fans to new directors. So how is their latest offering, Abigail?

Bringing New Blood to Vampire Horror

Abigail follows a group of hired mercenaries who break into the home of a supposedly mega rich man to kidnap his daughter. The group succeeds and takes the girl back to a mansion in the middle of nowhere. Tasked with holding on to her for 24 hours while the mastermind of the plan awaits a ransom payment. It isn’t long before the mercenaries begin to realise that who they are taking care of is no ordinary little girl.

Screenshot from vampire horror movie Abigail (2024)

Let’s be real, vampire horror is pretty stale and has been for awhile. The theme tends to go through a few different changes every decade or so. Everyone gets a bit excited about it and a bunch of copy and paste movies appear. It happened with the Blade series and Underworld. Then it happened with Twilight and its copycats. It happened with Let The Right One In and imitators like The Transfiguration. And I have a feeling that Abigail is going to set things off again.

Abigail genuinely brings a completely new take to a fairly worn out type of horror movie. Eschewing much of the seriousness that comes with vampire themed horror movies. Abigail takes everything that worked so well about last year’s M3gan and weaves it intricately into an action packed blood bath of a horror movie. This is, quite simply, an absolute mountain of fun.

Well Balanced Action and Comedy 

Everything in Abigail is done with tongue in cheek. There is a significant amount of comedy but nothing too overt. Just enough to keep you chuckling but never enough to take you out of the action. Despite the rather cliched premise, there’s a lot going on. From characters sneaking around dimly lit hallways, to vicious double crossings to unsuspecting victims falling into pools of blood. The movie does take awhile to get there, though.

For the first 40 minutes or so, the group meander around the spooky house exploring rooms, having minor clashes with each other and establishing plot. It isn’t until the halfway point that it really starts to sink its teeth into the action. Having a group of people well versed in combat and mayhem makes for a far more interesting setup than just your average person off the street. Action scenes are well choreographed and a hell of a lot of fun. With plenty of people sure to appreciate the inclusion of ballet into the sequences.

Screenshot from vampire horror movie Abigail (2024)

There is a ton of gore, here. More so than even Ready or Not. Absolute buckets of the stuff and it’s the thick, visceral, kind that you know the actors had to shower for 2 hours to remove. We are subjected to satisfying character explosions resulting in chunks of flesh peppering the entire set. It’s a lot of fun in almost a satisfying video game like manner.

Still True to Classic Horror

Despite the heavy action focus and distinct comedy leanings. Abigail still stays true to a lot of classic horror. With visuals and sets that are sure to inspire nostalgia in old school horror fans. The movie looks gorgeous with Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett having developed a serious talent for making excellent looking horror movies.

Scenes are beautifully lit with a nod to the old fashioned, hammer style, orange hue of the 70s. Set designs are a mix of spooky, grandiose and decrepit with an almost Resident Evil 1 style range of locations and rooms. And the score is subtle yet effective. Never really getting in the way of the movie. I feel as though Abigail manages to strike the same sort of balance between the old and new as Fright Night did back in the day. 

Screenshot from vampire horror movie Abigail (2024)

Everything is done with a distinct appreciation of the past. While also managing to add some new twists that keep things fresh. Sure, not all of this is going to hit with all viewers. Anyone who was frustrated by the TikTok style silliness of some of M3gan’s more well known scenes. Will likely find themselves equally as frustrated by moments in Abigail that feel like pandering to the always online crowd. 

It can get a bit much and I think certain viewers who are on the other side of 30 will probably find themselves cringing a bit here and there. People who dislike tongue in cheek horror will likely feel a bit short changed and those who dislike action will probably find little to like. But, for the most part, it’s all a lot of fun.

A Stellar Cast

Melissa Barrera, who you may know from a movie we reviewed called Bed Rest, does a great job here. She plays a fitting “main girl” with a tumultuous past and does well in the action scenes. Dan Stevens is on top form as the sleazy Frank though I am definitely not buying his hokey Queen’s accent.

It’s great to see Paranormal Activity 4’s Kathryn Newton again. She is a lot of fun here as hacker Sammy in her second horror performance of the year along with Lisa Frankenstein. And additional roles from great actors like Kevin Durand and the late Angus Cloud add plenty to the movie.

Screenshot from vampire horror movie Abigail (2024)

Let’s be real, though. It’s the performance of the Irish actor Alisha Weir as the movie’s titular character that steals the show. She is fantastic throughout. Putting on a quality performance with some serious depth. Effortlessly switching between childlike helplessness and forked tongued badass with ease. Special credit goes to her for incorporating so much ballet into her performance as well. She is the unquestioned star of the show and a future megastar for sure.

Should You Watch Abigail?

If you are a fan of action based horror with a few laughs, you have to watch Abigail. It is up there with some of the best faster paced horror movies in years. Much like last year’s Megan, Abigail taps into a fun side of horror that we don’t often see. It’s action packed, there is a ton of gore and some of the set pieces are fantastic. I didn’t love the last 20 minutes and there are few moments that feel a bit cliched. But these are minor complaints. Abigail is a ton of fun and well worth checking out.

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