Abigail – A Funny Horror Comedy With a Bite

MOVIE REVIEW – If you’re craving a truly refreshing yet spine-chilling horror-comedy, look no further! The creators of Ready or Not are back, revisiting the old haunted mansion recipe to deliver more laughs and scares. Abigail is a dynamic horror-comedy where terror and laughter go hand in hand.


Vampires might just be our most versatile monsters. They can be lonely kids, teens, misunderstood lovers, serial killers, leather-jacket wanderers, regular Joes, or everyday folks. This versatility (and often, the ability to blend in as humans) means that vampires frequently surprise both the audience and the characters in the film, usually sinking their teeth into the plot halfway through. Abigail, this uproariously funny new action-horror from the directors of Ready or Not, targets this niche of surprise vampire films, akin to works like From Dusk Till Dawn or A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.

As hinted in the trailers, Abigail spins the tale of a ballerina assassin who also happens to be a vampire. However, the film begins as a straight crime story. A gang, named after the Rat Pack rockers, kidnaps a wealthy man’s daughter. All they need to do is keep her locked in a mansion for 24 hours to collect a cool $50 million ransom. But as it turns out, the girl’s father is a notoriously tough mob boss, known for harshly dealing with deceivers. And here’s where the child vampire comes in.




An Unexpected Twist


I wouldn’t even mention the vampire in this film if it weren’t such a central element of its marketing. Watching the film without expecting a bloodsuck would have been a delightful treat, clearly the intention of directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. After perfectly steering us with the crime storyline in the first half, they treat the vampire revelation as a shocking twist, complete with hilariously outrageous reactions from the entire cast, followed by a mockingly pedantic discussion on vampire lore. Despite the spoiler in the trailer (even in the teaser!), Abigail still delivers great entertainment.

Once Abigail reveals herself as a lethal supernatural being, the film shifts more towards an action slasher than straight horror. In this sense, Abigail is much more akin to Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett’s earlier work, Ready or Not, than to other vampire films. Both films are set in secluded mansions where someone is brutally and comically hunted down. And both films favor gore and guts over subtlety. After straying into directing two mediocre, chaotic, and clumsy Scream films, Abigail proves they can still craft tension through sprawling mansion corridors and switch instantly from horror to action.



A Perfect Blend of Humor and Horror


Yet, the film’s strongest suit is undoubtedly its cast’s sense of humor. Although written by frequent collaborators Stephen Shields and Guy Busick, the actors deliver even the weakest jokes perfectly.

Angus Cloud (Euphoria) excels as Dean, the team’s perpetually stoned outsider, a charming scoundrel whose clumsy flirting with a female teammate makes him irresistibly likable. Kevin Durand (Vikings) is brilliant as Peter, a hulking thief with a big heart and an even bigger temper, but not much upstairs.

But neither can top the film’s brightest stars. Dan Stevens (The Guest) plays Frank, the hapless kidnapper leader, proving again he’s got all it takes to be a star, equipped with rugged looks and the quirkiest character actor traits. Whether the camera is on him or not, Stevens is always “on,” casting sly glances at other characters from the background or heroically posing even after a child’s decapitation.

Yet even Stevens is outshone by Kathryn Newton (Freaky, Lisa Frankenstein), whose every line is hilarious. Newton plays Sammy, the team’s tech genius, with perfect defensive sarcasm and genuine delight at being surrounded by such shady characters. As chaos unfolds, Newton always lands the unexpected jokes and quips with such skilled comedic timing that even stale jokes seem refreshingly funny.



A Weak Link in Otherwise Stellar Cast


The only real weak link in the otherwise sparkling cast is Melissa Barrera (Scream 6, In the Heights), playing Joey, the team’s stoic, straightforward member with more empathy than the rest combined. This role, which should be the soul of the film in most comedies, proves a thankless task. But Barrera’s performance is disappointingly flat and emotionless, suggesting boredom and failing to convey much about her character.

Ironically, the soul of Abigail comes from its titular vampire, played by Alisha Weir, a mix of bloodlust, cunning, and vulnerability. Clearly, the creators preferred audiences to root for the monster this time, not the lovably dumb crooks. Abigail’s backstory is as tragic as any of her victims, and more thoroughly explored. This longing for connection and human affection permeates many vampire tales, like Claudia’s story in Interview with the Vampire. Like Kirsten Dunst in that film, Weir masterfully conveys the real pain of a child vampire in Abigail. Her story never justifies her bloodlust—it only offers a relatively sympathetic explanation for her rage.

Abigail’s most impressive feat is how perfectly balanced it is at every twist. While its marketing precludes it from being a true surprise-vampire film, the creators still find surprises by switching genres between horror and comedy. As long as it needs to be a crime comedy about bumbling criminals, it’s thoroughly entertaining; as long as it needs to be a vampire slaughter, it’s thrilling; and in the end, a story about a vampire longing for love and attention, switching moods and genres exactly at the right moments. Even more impressive is that each iteration of Abigail is as entertaining and bloody as the last.

– Gergely Herpai (BadSector)-




Direction - 7.6
Actors - 7.1
Story/Humor/Horror - 7.6
Visuals/Music/Sounds - 7.2
Ambience - 8.2



Abigail masterfully blends the elements of horror and comedy, maintaining a perfect balance throughout the film. The actors perform excellently, the narrative flows smoothly and excitingly. However, the real magic of the film lies in its humor, continuously engaging the audience while alternately driving the events forward with tension and laughter.

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines - including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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