Abigail poster

It is apparently the perfectly planned heist, six strangers, each with a particular expertise or proficiency, brought together anonymously and given codenames inspired by the Rat Pack by their contact who has promised them a share of fifty million dollars; all they have to do is kidnap a young girl and hold her in a specific location for twenty-four hours while the ransom is negotiated and secured.

The target is Abigail, chauffeured to and from ballet practice in an unoccupied auditorium, sitting alone upstairs in the bedroom of an empty mansion, a child of privilege but deprived of company; the objective secured with only minor deviation from script, the sextet arrive at their destination, another mansion, remote and obviously uninhabited yet prepared for them, but when “Dean” is later found dead it seems all is not as they were led to believe.

Abigail; the Rat Pack arrive at their destination and begin biding their time until the payoff.

Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, formerly of the Radio Silence collective, Abigail is written by Stephen Shields and Guy Busick, originally conceived as a remake of Dracula’s Daughter although scant evidence of that proposition remains other than the presence of a vampire, Alisha Weir’s title character ancient and crafty despite her innocent appearance, relishing the hunt as she plays mouse and cats with her captors.

Playing with her food through the night, Joey, Frank, Sammy, Peter and Rickles (Scream‘s Melissa Barrera, Colossal‘s Dan Stevens, Freaky‘s Kathryn Newton, The Strain‘s Kevin Durand and Lovecraft Country‘s Will Catlett) squabble amongst themselves while battling incredulity and struggling to find weapons which will protect them in a game of murder in the dark where the odds are heavily stacked against them, the only advantage the Rat Pack have the incongruously brief daylight which they fail to capitalise on.

Abigail; kidnapped and held for ransom, Abigail (Alisha Weir) is alone and afraid.

The ensemble which includes Euphoria’s Angus Cloud as Dean and The Mandalorian’s Giancarlo Esposito as contractor Lambert excellent through all that is thrown at them, particularly Weir, demonic and deceitful yet also desperate for some company to fill the long hours of eternity, regardless there is a sense that the film is holding back, on the cusp of allowing itself to become truly outrageous but never pushing as far as it should with either the horror or the undercurrent of comedy.

Paralleling Ready or Not, Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett’s easlier hunt to the death set in a magnificent sprawling mansion of no apparent escape, Abigail never quite rises to that level, slickly produced and cleverly structured but armed with stakes insufficiently sharp and moving too slowly to establish the premise before dancing into the delirious attack scenes and their accompanying fountains of blood, perhaps a better film had it concluded without the superfluous coda which adds nothing save the presence of Stoker’s Matthew Goode as the elusive Kristof Lazar.

Abigail is currently on general release

Abigail; tired of games and getting hungry, Abigail (Alisha Weir) reveals her true face.



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