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April 19, 2024 / Universal Pictures Canada

Starring: Melissa Barrera, Dan Stevens, Alisha Weir, Kathryn Newton, William Catlett, Kevin Durand, Angus Cloud, Giancarlo Esposito, Matthew Goode

Directed By: Tyler Gillett, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin

Frank (Dan Stevens), Sammy (Kathryn Newton), Peter (Kevin Durand) and Joey (Melissa Barrera) are a group of would-be criminals. When they kidnap Abigail (Alisha Weir), the 12-year-old ballerina daughter of Kristof Lazar (Matthew Goode), a powerful underworld figure, all they have to do to collect a $50 million ransom is watch the girl overnight.

As they keep her captive behind bars in an isolated mansion, the kidnappers start to dwindle, one by one, as they discover, to their mounting horror, that they're locked inside with no normal little girl.

Written By Kurt Morrison

Rating 4 out of 5

We, the horror community, continue to eat the riches of a fantastic year, as Universal Pictures unleashes Abigail, which sits at the top as my favorite horror film of 2024.

Writer Stephen Shields teams with Gary Busick, splashing the essence of the 1936 Universal Monster film Dracula’s Daughter into a relentlessly gory 21st century horror romp, peppering in bits and pieces of crime classics like The Usual Suspects and Ocean’s 11 to create a wholly entertaining film from start to finish.

This wildly violent and vicious ride begins around a group of ragtag criminals who kidnap the 12-year-old daughter of a powerful underworld figure. We get to know the gang, comprised of a who’s who of familiar faces - Kathryn Newton (Ant-Man: Quantumania), Canada’s own Kevin Durand (Ballers), Angus Cloud (Euphoria) and William Catlett (Constellation), who have all been recruited to the team for their criminal skills. Their banter gets the film off to a hilarious start, as there is clearly tension amongst the group of strangers who are holding the girl for ransom in an isolated mansion.

Melissa Barrera (Scream 5 & 6) is once again led by the directing duo known as Radio Silence, and this is Barrera’s strongest leading outing yet. Playing the role of Joey, we slowly begin to peel back the layers to her haunted character, as she is a recovering addict who desperately wants to get back to her young son. She possesses a visible sadness in her eyes while anxiously having a sweet tooth. As she realizes that their task is inherently evil and wrong, Joey’s guard comes down as she speaks with Abigail and we see the softer side of a woman who would never want to put a child in danger.

Barrera continues to get better and better, and her directors Radio Silence really put her through the ringer more than ever with this role. It’s mean, it's physically demanding, it’s got great depth and to top it all off, features more blood and guts then anyone in my theatre was prepared to see on screen! This trio are now 3 for 3 when it comes to collaborations and Barrera has cemented herself into the illustrious ‘Final Girl’ category for us horror diehards.


But folks, the ying to Barrera’s yang in this film absolutely steals the show for me.

A man who is having one hell of a year so far. That is Mr. Dan Stevens.

Hollywood, put Dan Stevens in everything. This guy is a f***ing superstar.

Playing Frank, Steven’s brash New Yorker accent is only topped by his sarcastic and smart ass cadence and answers to everything. Without spoiling too much, Frank’s hotheaded-ness provides the conflict for Melissa Barrera’s Joey even before the vampire shit hits the fan. Not the biggest guy in the room by a mile, Dan Steven’s Frank has a grizzly ability to intimidate that could make anyone uncomfortable and Stevens sells the hell out of it. With that big an ego obviously then comes the role of de facto leader of the group, as they become trapped within the walls of the mansion.

The anxiety of their 24 hour hold-up is perfectly paced alongside the comedy within the mansion walls, and the horror aspect doesn't take off until about thirty minutes into the movie, after we’ve gotten to know the gang a little. But once the cat is out of the bag, and by cat I mean vampire, all hell breaks loose and makes for a wild ride led completely by Alisha Weir’s vampiric turn to the titular Abigail.

Her ability to turn from vulnerable and endangered, to rabid and THE DANGER was physically impressive and excellent. It’s pretty amazing to sit back and watch a film and be able to say to myself ‘“Holy Shit, this kid is going to be a star….” and that’s all I kept saying while watching Weir. She’s got that ‘it’ factor and I am really looking forward to seeing what she has lined up next.

Gore feels like it is at an all-time cinematic high in Abigail, as there is no holding back on the violence. Heads get ripped off. Bodies explode. It is god damn carnage and I loved every second of it. The blood and guts are complemented by the black comedy throughout, which is tricky to pull off, but directors Radio Silence understand their tone, pacing and directing abilities and bring the best out in everyone. Abigail is not the scariest film I’ll see this year, but it sure as hell will remain in the conversation as one of the most entertaining film experiences of 2024.

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