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"Abigail": A Movie Review

Updated: Apr 25


ABIGAIL


Blurb:  After a group of criminals kidnap the ballerina daughter of a powerful underworld figure, they retreat to an isolated mansion, unaware that they're locked inside with no normal little girl.


Starring: Alisha Weir

Melissa Barrera

Dan Stevens

Kathryn Newton

Will Catlett

Kevin Durand

Angus Cloud

Giancarlo Esposito

Directed by:  Alexander Payne

Written by:  Guy Busick and Stephen Shields


BEN'S REVIEW:  In my opinion, this is a nigh on perfect vampire movie. Please note: For Ben, what that means is that I can watch the entire film and at no time be pulled out of the movie, at no time roll my eyes, at not time have to tell myself, "Ben, just go with it." For me personally--and I am vested in vampires, they are my absolute favorite creature of the night--I must believe in vampires while I watch their movies. I must think, "Yeah! This is what it might be like if they were real!" I know they aren't real, but for two or so hours, I want to!


Movies that have done that include 30 Days of Night, the vampires from the first Blade movie, and of course, Interview with the Vampire. And now? Abigail!


We went in knowing too much. It had a trailer that told us that several bad guys were abducting a girl who turns out to be far more than they ever dreamed of, a real vampire, and they are trapped in a mansion with her so she can pick them off one by one. What utterly thrilled me is that I wasn't bored for a minute, and for once in a movie like this, I not only believed the half dozen "bad guys" (some were far "more bad" than others) were real people. I can't tell you how many films with the crew of young people at the beginning have me wishing they would all just frigging die within ten minutes--not because they are bad people, but because they are useless wastes of space, or they are terrible actors, or both. Not so in Abigail. If I wish for the death of any of them (and yes, I certainly wanted some of them to die) it was because they were scumbags (and they were all excellently acted, each and every one).


One of the things I hated most about the movie Event Horizon, and I really hate that movie and cannot figure out why it has so many fans, was that when we are introduced to the rough touch crew, it is obvious they were influenced by the marines in James Cameron's Aliens. Except what the came across as was 14-year-old boys playing a board game and trying to be rough and tough, and being 14, had no idea how to do so. They were terrible and cardboard and one dimensional and at no time believable as real people. The crew that kidnap Abigail though were quite real and as we find more and more about them, them more I sympathized with (most of) them.


But who I fell in love with most though was the mail female kidnapper. She right off is protecting the "helpless" girl. She's even pissed that they are kidnapping a girl, she was never told that. She pinkie swears with Abigail that she won't let anyone hurt her, and Abigail gets her to admit she has a boy around her age, and we are introduced to the mystery of who this woman is and what is going on with her son.


Once Abigail is revealed as to what she really is, and the classic trope of picking them off one by one begins, I really was on the edge of my seat, and rooting for Abigail surprisingly quickly. Not just because of what the were willing to put a little girl through, but the little vampire becomes sympatric as you learn more and more about her and what she's been through over the last few centuries.


What really did it for me though was Alisha Weir as Abigail. It's not easy for a young actor to play such a part because they, children with little to no life experience, have to be convincing as an "adult" trapped in a child's body. Every now and then someone does it: Kirsten Dunst as Claudia in Interview with the Vampire, 15-year-old Dakota Fanning as 1,200-year-old Jane in the Twilight Saga's New Moon, Chloë Grace Moretz as Abby in Let Me In, and Lina Leandersson as Eli in the original Swedish version of the latter, Let the Right One In.


And now, for sure, Alisha Weir as Abigail. She totally convinced me. She took a different path, in many ways somehow still retaining some of her child nature, while also being a vicious creature, but it is clear that in many ways, she has been so shielded, she wasn't unlike that famous child actors who never got to be a child and became instead some odd amalgamation of child and adult.


By the end, I was rooting so very much for both Joey, the central kidnapper female, and Abigail, the little ballerina vampire.


Abigail also did something else right for me, something critical for vampire movies. It went through the list of "rules" for vampires and picked which ones they were following and which they were ditching. We got to actually watch that. Do crosses hurt her? Does silver? Sunlight? A stake through the heart? Bullets? Can she fly? Turn into a bat?


You'll have to watch and see. And I highly recommend that you do! Nine out of ten stars!


BEN'S RATING:  ☕☕☕☕☕☕ X


SYNOPSIS:

Warning: The following is a complete synopsis of the movie. It's nothing but spoilers. Read at your own risk!


Six criminals capture ballet dancer Abigail, the daughter of a powerful underworld figure within New York City, and bring her to a secluded mansion upstate.


The group, led by informant Lambert, is told not to disclose any personal information amongst themselves or to Abigail. Using only aliases derived from the Rat Pack, the group consists of former Army medic and recovering drug addict Joey; former NYPD detective Frank; wealthy hacker Sammy; sociopathic driver Dean; Marine sniper Rickles; and dimwitted Canadian mob enforcer Peter. After 24 hours, each will receive a $7 million check so long as Abigail is kept safe. Joey is sent to watch over her and, as they bond, Joey reveals that she has a son. When Joey leaves, Abigail warns her about what will transpire during the night.


After Dean unsuccessfully flirts with Sammy, he enters the basement and is dragged away by an unseen assailant. Sammy hears his screams and investigates only to find Dean's headless corpse. Frank confronts Abigail and demands to know who her father is, finding out that Abigail's father is Kristof Lazar, a feared crimelord. Rickles tries to leave, but the home's security system activates and bars them inside. As they look for another way out, Rickles is mauled to death. Frank tells Peter to kill Abigail only for Joey to intervene. During the altercation, Abigail suddenly transforms into a vampire, causing the group to flee in terror.


Distressed, the group discusses how to kill Abigail, as bullets don't physically harm her. Frank, Peter and Sammy find Abigail dancing with Dean's body and use garlic, stakes, and holy crosses, but each prove unsuccessful. They regroup once more, and Joey suggests using a tranquilizer Lambert had given them earlier for the kidnapping. They manage to tranquilize Abigail and lock her in an elevator, though not before she manages to bite Sammy on the arm.


Upon awakening, Abigail reveals she knows the kidnappers' identities and that Lambert set them up for her to kill because they all wronged Kristof. In turn, Joey deduces Abigail has been killing her father's enemies in an attempt to win his love. They leave Frank in charge of watching her; Abigail easily breaks out of the makeshift cage and starts choking him. Joey rips wooden planks off a window and exposes Abigail to the sunlight, which turns out to be her only weakness. With only hours left before nightfall, the group splits up to find a way out. However, Sammy suddenly turns into a vampire under Abigail's control and feeds on Peter before killing him. Abigail then has Sammy attack Frank and Joey, forcing Joey to destroy Sammy with reflected sunlight.


Hoping to deactivate the security measures, Joey and Frank find the mansion's control room and run into Lambert, who is revealed as a vampire. Lambert explains he was turned by Abigail for betraying her father and offers to turn Frank to help him kill Abigail. Frank accepts, but stakes Lambert after he turns and overpowers Abigail before drinking her blood, enhancing his new abilities. He then tells Joey that he intends to turn her into a vampire under his control after biting her. During the fight, Abigail rescues Joey and the two team up, eventually managing to stake the inexperienced Frank. With Frank dead, Joey is freed from the vampire's curse until Abigail's father shows up and threatens her. Abigail manages to stand up to her father and reveals that Joey saved her life; he relents and permits Joey to leave. Upon departing the estate to reunite with her son, Joey treats herself to a lollipop. *




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