‘Abigail’ Review: A Bloody Good Time

Kevin Taft reviews Abigail, a horror-comedy from the Radio Silence team, who deliver an inventive, over-the-top, blood-soaked, vampire tale.
User Rating: 8.5

Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (also known as “Radio Silence”) aren’t always known for subtlety. Between their feature film debut, Ready or Not, and the last two Scream films, the inventive duo loves over-the-top, blood-soaked carnage.

While that might sound a bit morose, it’s all done with a wink-wink-nudge-nudge that makes it all go down easy. Even when it’s a little nauseating. So follows their latest horror/comedy opus, Abigail.

Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett are really good at taking ridiculous scenarios and making them realistic within the confines of their ludicrous premise. For example, in Ready or Not, a bride entering a wealthy family finds she has to fight for her life on her wedding night in order to be welcomed in.

See Also: ‘Late Night with the Devil’ Review: Not So Terrifying, But Offers Goofy Demonic Fun

Here, writers Stephen Shields (The Hole in the Ground) and longtime collaborator Guy Busick craft a simple tale of a group of misfit felons tasked to kidnap the twelve-year-old girl of a rich tycoon to pocket fifty million dollars. What they don’t realize is that the little girl – Abigail – is a vampire.

The group of five misfit criminals find themselves locked in an expansive mansion, fighting for their lives while trying to figure out how they got involved in the scheme in the first place. And as usual, Radio Silence fills their casts with terrific leads and character actors.

Melissa Barrera (Scream) plays Joey, a former army medic trying to make a better life for her son. Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) is Frank, a smart-ass ex-detective guiding the kidnapping. Kathryn Newton (Lisa Frankenstein) is a young hacker, William Catlett (Constellation) is the group’s tactical guy, Kevin Durand (The Strain) is the muscle, and the late Angus Cloud (Euphoria) is their getaway driver.

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They are briefly joined by Giancarlo Esposito (The Mandalorian) as the guy who hired them and, of course, Alisha Weir (Matilda: The Musical) as the titular ballerina vamp.

The simplicity of this bloody horror caper is what makes it all the more fun. Sure, the characters’ backstories are a welcome way to flesh out characters that could have been one-note, but this is a straightforward romp that is more startling than scary – and that’s the point. No one should go to see Abigail to be terrified. In the vein of M3GAN, this is a comedic thriller with a preternatural bent.

And it’s a hoot.

The cast is entirely game and dives into their roles, relishing the goofy scenario. Barrera is the motherly and more grounded of the crew, while Stevens gets to let loose – something he’s been doing a lot more lately. (See Godzilla x Kong.) Newton is a delight in everything she does, and it’s fun to see Durand play dim-witted muscle rather than just a burly jerk.

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Most surprising is Weir as Abigail, who has to navigate a variety of personality styles as the manipulative title character. Not to mention – pirouette through a lot of it!

As the stakes are raised and the body count climbs, Abigail becomes increasingly outrageous and fun. Laughs abound even as the actors (and the floors, ceilings, and walls) become drenched in blood and guts. Radio Silence certainly likes their bodily explosions.

All in all, Abigail is a blast, and audiences will get exactly what they are expecting: a high-adrenaline, silly, over-the-top ride that satisfies horror hounds and comedy lovers alike.

Abigail opens in theaters on April 19, 2024.

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8.5
Great
Written by
Kevin is a long-time movie buff with a wide variety of tastes and fixations in the film world. He cried the moment Benji appeared onscreen in “Benji,” and it took him about four times to finally watch “The Exorcist” (at age 24) without passing out. “Star Wars: A New Hope” was the movie that changed everything and when his obsession with films and filmmaking began. A screenwriter himself (one long-ago horror script sale to New Line remains on a shelf), his first film "Two Tickets to Paradise" that he co-wrote premiered in June 2022 on Hallmark. He is currently working on another for the iconic brand.

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