Abigail (2024) Movie Review: A Film Of Two Halves

Abigail has released to positive reviews in 2024

I am sure you have seen the trailer, which gives away the plot twist, that Abigail, who appears to be a charming and graceful ballet enthusiast, is in fact a bloodthirsty vampire, but I think it was a necessary decision to include this in order to generate interest and promote the film effectively. And it worked.

From the directors known as Radio Silence, who you may know worked on the Scream movies, Scream Reboot, Scream VI,and Ready Or NotAbigail follows a group of individuals, including Frank (Dan Stevens), Joey (Melissa Barerra), Sammy (Kathryn Newton), Peter (Kevin Durand), Rickles (Will Catlett), and Dean (the late Angus Cloud), who are brought together by a man named Lambert (Giancarlo Esposito) to kidnap 12-year-old Abigail (Alisha Weir). 

The girl's father is a wealthy and powerful man, and the plan is to extort $50 million from him for her safe return. Things take a turn for the worse though when they discover that the situation is not what they expected, and they find themselves trapped inside an old mansion. As they struggle to escape, they soon realize that Abigail is not who she appears to be, and their worst nightmares become a reality.

The opening scene features a lone ballerina gracefully pirouetting on stage in an empty auditorium. It's a pretty simple moment but one that draws us in with the sheer elegance of the dance and music. The movie begins in the city, but quickly transitions to the countryside where a Tudor-style estate becomes the primary setting for the film's events. 

The film boasts a straightforward survival type plot with well crafted characters and the script is sharp and engaging, with a world that is fully realized and adheres to its own established rules and boundaries. While the film does incorporate some classic vampire tropes, it also cleverly subverts certain expectations.

After Abigail's identity is revealed, the criminals react in a way that is all too human. What do we know about vampires? as Abigail proves to be a a more powerful opponent then they had ever thought, and one I bet they wish they had never set eyes on. Her innocent-sounding voice would be heart-wrenching if not for the knowledge that you know she is capable of inflicting serious harm.

It's a film of two halves, both of which I enjoyed. The first half feels like a heist type movie and there are some remarkable reveals and sequences that will keep you hooked. But it's the second half that truly shined for me, where the vampire action starts and the blood and gore starts to happen. 

The film becomes quite intense with its gory scenes as well, so if you're easily grossed out, it's not the movie for you. Even when someone gets their head chopped off off-screen, that's considered one of the less graphic parts. In quite a few scenes, blood splashes onto the camera, making it feel like you're right there in the middle of the action.

The characters were excellent too. Weir delivers a stunning performance as Abigail, a master manipulator with a quirky edge. Her ballet training is seamlessly woven into her tactics of intimidation and murder and it results in some visually striking action sequences. 

Barrera, who previously worked with Gillett and Bettinelli-Olpin on two Scream films, shines as well. Her portrayal of Joey is both cunning and courageous, with genuine flaws that make her character all the more relatable. And Stevens brings a commanding presence to his role as a stern authority figure, while Durand surprises with his endearing portrayal of a lovable oaf.

I did have high hopes for Abigail going in, and I wasn't disappointed. While some early parts maybe felt like it was plodding along, that's really a small criticism as overall I really liked it. After the disappointment of Night Swim to kick off 2024, and the disappointing Immaculate, it's starting to kick into gear after watching The First Omen and Late Night With The Devil, and Abigail has continued the positive trend with another 2024 horror movie release that delivered.

8/10 from me!

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