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Abigail movie review & film summary (2024)

Abigail movie review & film summary (2024)

You already know what you’re in for if you’ve come to “Abigail” to watch a body count caper featuring plummy character actor performances from That Guys like Kevin Durand and Dan Stevens. Most of their co-stars keep up in less attractive roles, including Melissa Barrera’s thinly drawn anti-heroine team leader. There’s also plenty of viscous-looking blood splatter and some modestly good-looking vampire makeup—the fangs, in particular. Some action scenes are well-choreographed, but generally over-edited and shot just ahead of whatever’s moving on-screen. The rest of this 90-minute genre exercise is unfailingly conventional, though that’s also a big part of its ostensible appeal.

I can’t really get or stay mad at “Abigail” for essentially delivering what its marketing promises. Sure, the movie’s creators, led by co-helmers Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (better known as “Radio Silence,” directors of “Ready or Not” and the 2022 “Scream” reboot), could have delivered more, even though disenchanted viewers can’t exactly claim false advertising. The setup is strictly by the numbers and the characters are all stock types.

A team of bickering misfits kidnaps the title character (Weir). They follow her home with a comically oversized gizmo stuck to the bottom of her chauffeur’s car. Then they bring the 12-year-old-looking girl to a secluded mansion, where they’re reminded of their mission’s stakes. Shady but well-dressed ring-leader Lambert (Giancarlo Esposito) gives us and them the rundown: no real names, no cell phones, nothing personal—it’s 24 hours of baby-sitting a pre-teen who really likes to plié and step-toe her way through “Swan Lake” rehearsals. Simple is as simple does.

We learn very little about everyone, thanks in no small part to a scene where Lambert nicknames the characters after members of the Rat Pack. Durand’s character, a jolly-but-dim muscle-bro named Peter, tries to find the sense in being nicknamed after rats. Later, he gets that it’s a disposable pop culture reference and promptly moves on.

Peter’s the most sympathetic character in “Abigail,” partly because he’s constantly straining against the limits of what his character can know and do. He’s joined by a call sheet of tropes, including Abigail’s minder, the empathetic and observant Joey (Melissa Barrera); their irritating and wasted driver Dean (the late “Euphoria” star Angus Cloud); and the strong-silent ex-soldier Rickles (William Catlett). Eventually, the team has to worry not only about Abigail, but a few predictable liabilities, like their bratty and easily bored electronics hacker Sammy (Kathryn Newton) and their foul-mouthed, inexplicably accented ex-cop backup leader Frank (Stevens).

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