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Abigail review: Horror comedy heist thriller is one of best vampire films in years

Abigail review: Horror comedy heist thriller is one of best vampire films in years

Melissa Barrera and Dan Stevens lead a team of cons who face off against a vampire ballerina

When was the last time you saw a properly good vampire flick? 2022’s Morbius, obviously.

But in all seriousness, it’s been a long time since we’ve had anything in the same ballpark as Near Dark, The Lost Boys or Dusk Til Dawn.

Abigail is not quite in that league, although it’s head and shoulders above most of the vampire offerings in the last five or ten years.

Is it scary? Not particularly. Does it bring anything radically new to the table? Nope. But are you guaranteed to have a good time watching it? Absolutely.

Abigail is the latest feature from Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, the guys who resurrected the Scream franchise after Wes Craven’s passing.

The cast is chock full of genre favorites. The Guest’s Dan Stevens! Scream’s Melissa Barrera! Freaky’s Kathryn Newton! Giancarlo Esposito doing his reliable crime boss schtick!

Tragically, this is also one of Euphoria actor Angus Cloud’s final films before his death - and the movie is dedicated to him.

We meet them as they’re about to kidnap the titular Abigail in a scene that’s thrilling but cursory.

She’s the daughter of a very wealthy man who - the team hopes - will shell out $50 million to get her back.

Once they’ve bundled her into a canvas bag and hole up with her in a massive Gothic pad - is this really the most lowkey safe house you could find, chaps? - the film treads water.

Alisha Weir is a centuries-old vampire (Universal)
Alisha Weir is a centuries-old vampire (Universal)

We’re treated to some thumbnail sketches of the team's backstories - none of which really matters - with the talented cast not given much to do until they’re called on to be decapitated/exploded/chewed to death.

There are some fake out jump scares. Tempers start to fray. You know the drill.

Once Abigail - who unfortunately for the team, turns out to be a centuries-old vampire - bares her fangs, the movie finally kicks into gear.

Earlier jokes were hit and miss, but now the cast land zinger after zinger. There’s double crossing, triple crossing. Literally gallons of blood. A hilarious and surprising scenery-chewing cameo.

Stevens and Barrera truly understand the assignment here - the former a neurotic former cop with a nasty streak, the latter the emotional center of the movie/the only character who isn’t a complete arsehole.

Freaky's Kathryn Newton stars (Universal)
Freaky's Kathryn Newton stars (Universal)

It’s kind of in the spirit of 1985’s Fright Night - silly rather than scary, but very, very fun.

Abigail doesn’t reach the heights of Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett’s breakout hit Ready or Not, which had some satirical bite to accompany its blood-soaked horror comedy.

But as a studio horror movie that’s often surprising and always a tonne of fun, it definitely delivers - especially with a dearth of quality vampire flicks to sink your teeth into in recent years.


Featured Image Credit: Universal

Topics: Film and TV, Review, Horror