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  • Rev Horror


Dir. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett (2024)

A group of kidnappers are tasked with watching over their latest score, a young ballerina who is also a vampire.

After deciding that I needed to go see Alex Garland's Civil War in theaters (which was absolutely the right decision, because it's a movie that yearns to be seen on the big screen), I had an itch to make my afternoon a double feature and checked out Radio Silence's Abigail. This was another movie I was excited to see for entirely different reasons: unlike the promise of cerebral disturbances with Civil War, Abigail looked like a film that was going to be bloody good fun with more gore than social import. Thankfully, it delivered exactly what was promised and had a great time doing it, too.

A team of kidnappers are hired to take a little girl in the hopes that her rich, underworld-connected father will pay a huge ransom for her safe return. Unbeknownst to them, the girl is an ancient vampire (and her daddy isn't very nice either). When the house locks down around them, the six criminals are faced with a choice: kill a cute little ballerina with big teeth or be offed one by one.

It's a simple storyline, as a lot of the best films tend to be. Radio Silence, a directorial team made up of Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, have made a slew of these types of films, starting with shorts in the original V/H/S and Southbound and graduating up to the wildly underrated Ready or Not and the mainstream-overrated last two Scream films. "Kidnappers take a little girl who turns out to be a vampire" sounds like an idea you'd scribble on the back of a napkin, but it's also lowkey brilliant: offer an idea that makes people say "why didn't I think of that?" and deliver it with gory goodness. Abigail does that perfectly, and while it's not a film that will take home any "best of" awards, it's a delightfully fun (and surprisingly funny) popcorn horror flick that should win its fair share of fans.

The cast is excellent, with lots of faces you'll know from somewhere else. Melissa Barrera (Scream and Scream VI), Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey), Kathryn Newton (Freaky), Angus Cloud (Euphoria), Kevin Durand (Tragedy Girls), and Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad) are all excellent in their roles, and newcomer Alisha Weir is absolutely delightful as the titular Abigail. The script is also fantastic, with enough laughs to carry some of the slower setup at the beginning and plenty of twists and subversions on vampiric folklore to keep the audience on its toes. The cinematography, likewise, is entertaining horror done to perfection: there's nothing new being added here, but you're going to like what you see.

Abigail feels like a summer hit, despite being released in the spring, and it's definitely one to check out. Lots of gore and some good laughs is all you should really seek from horror, and it's nice to see a film that didn't try to be slow burn enough to put you to sleep for once. Why deliver yet another critique on trauma and the reverberation of social injustices when you can have a ballerina vampire rip criminals apart while dancing? Radio Silence answers this question with gusto, giving us the first truly fun hack-and-slash of 2024 in a movie that was a lot of fun to watch.

Who this movie is for: Vampire movie lovers, Modern gory horror fans, People who can Pas de Bourree (I totally had to look that up)

Bottom line: Abigail is dumb fun, and that's all it seeks to be. It might very well be the best kidnapped-little-girl-turns-out-to-be-an-immortal-vampire movie you'll see this year, and it's a great time all around. While I didn't love the last two Scream movies, I'm a big fan of what the team of Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett bring to the table, and I definitely recommend giving this one a look as soon as you can. It's in theaters now, check it out.

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