Film Review: ABIGAIL (2024): KNIVES OUT Meets THE LOST BOYS with a Dash of BLACK SWAN in a Blood-Soaked Good Time SuperNayr

Kathryn Newton Melissa Barrera Abigail

Abigail Review

Abigail (2024) Film Review, a movie directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, written by Stephen Shields and Guy Busick and starring Melissa Barrera, Kathryn Newton, Dan Stevens, Alisha Weir, William Catlett, Kevin Durand, Angus Cloud, Giancarlo Esposito and Matthew Goode.

Abigail is an “everything but the kitchen sink” vampire movie that works more often than not. It’s directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett with tremendous style and dedication. This film certainly entertains but is also gruesome beyond belief as vampires explode at given intervals and neck skin is ripped off as the blood-sucking creatures bite their victims throughout. If you’re still in, this is the movie for you. Imagine Knives Out meets The Lost Boys with a twist of Black Swan and you’ll get an idea of what the picture is trying to do.

This new movie stars Melissa Barrera as Joey, a mom who has found herself immersed with some criminals who are all seeking to make a major financial score. As the picture opens, a young ballerina named Abigail (Alisha Weir) is kidnapped by the aforementioned criminals and taken away to a mansion where they will await the arrival of the millions of dollars which are promised to be coming their way. Abigail comes from a wealthy family and has a dad who is seemingly loaded with money.

Joey befriends Abigail and forms a bond with her even though Joey’s technically on the dark side and is possibly just looking to make a quick buck. Joey’s also a former junkie with a young boy who she’s become distanced from. Joey’s cohorts are mostly men but another woman called Sammy (Kathryn Newton) is also along for the ride. Joey thinks she can read people pretty well and, in a fun scene, sizes up the characters she is surrounded by.

The always reliable Giancarlo Esposito plays Lambert who may be the leader of the operation to gain financial prosperity by kidnapping Abigail. In a plot twist, Abigail actually turns out to be a vampire who thirsts on human blood and likes to play with her food, as she so eloquently puts it. This fact makes for some gruesome plot developments but Joey and Abigail have made a pinky swear along the way that makes them somehow connected in their pursuits but you wouldn’t know that at first from the attacks by Abigail on the shady men Joey has come to find herself with.

Dan Stevens’ Frank is a major player in the movie’s action. Joey initially comes to think Frank may be setting something dire up regarding the scenario at hand in the film. Even after the sweet-looking Abigail proves to be the major villain here, Frank is a character to keep your eyes on throughout. You may also want to watch Lambert too but he’s off-screen for much of the film. Still, remember that character for he will make a re-appearance late in the movie.

I cited Knives Out as an inspiration because this new movie assembles various different types of characters together. Although Abigail isn’t really a mystery per se, the characters become suspect even as Abigail starts biting them left and right. When vampires float in the air and toss their victims around, it’s reminiscent of the great 1980’s movie, The Lost Boys. Meanwhile, Abigail dances around like a young Natalie Portman from Black Swan and drinks her human blood in the interim.

Melissa Barrera is actually pretty good in her role. She has a scene where she calls her son on the phone that is touching even though she just gets the kid’s voicemail. Barrera is asked to do a lot to carry Abigail and she does so successfully even as vampires’ blood explodes on her. Barrera keeps the intensity of the role intact throughout. Kathryn Newton has some funny scenes as she tries to figure out a way to kill Abigail. Sammy hilariously wants to know if they’re dealing with “True Blood” or Twilight-type vampires.

In support, Kevin Durand’s Peter proves an intriguing character in the picture. Peter is a guy who’s likely to end up as vampire bait despite his best intentions. It is Dan Stevens who gets to have a blast in the last scenes of the picture as he is made an offer by Lambert that he simply cannot refuse. Stevens is having such a good time here being bad that audiences will anxiously await the scene where Frank will get his just desserts. As predicted, the movie doesn’t spare the graphic gore as Stevens hams it up on screen.

This is ultimately Alisha Weir’s movie, though. She is asked to do some wild things and, as a child actress, Weir delivers and then some as she dances around, twists and turns with remarkable eccentricity. Weir mostly holds the movie together and, at times, steals the rug right out from under the star, Barrera. Too many twists are thrown in willy-nilly at the end, though, and Abigail becomes a character who bounces from being good to bad and back again a couple of times which leaves the audience wondering which side she’ll ultimately end up on. Look for a surprising character to appear at the movie’s conclusion too!

If Abigail works as well as it does, it’s because Weir is so perfect as the title character. As the characters in the movie levitate and bite each other as well as drive stakes through each other’s hearts, the audience will be cheering along the way and covering their eyes during some of the more blood-soaked sequences the movie highlights. Abigail is ultimately a wild ride that doesn’t reinvent the vampire movie but rather combines the genre with the mystery movie for a gory good time. It’s worth seeing for sure.

Rating: 7.5/10

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