‘Abigail’ Movie Review: The Good, The Bad, and the Gory

Universal Pictures has a long history with horror films, so much so that they rebranded their classics under the name Universal Classic Monsters. In this case, Abigail is a reimagining of one of those classic films, Dracula’s Daughter (1936). Objectively, the film is good and features a great cast of characters; the standouts among the cast are Melissa BarreraDan Stevens, and Alisha Weir. That being said, the experience of watching the film was bad for me, so if you aren’t a horror fan, this might not be the film for you!

The Plot of Abigail

The film focuses on a group of kidnappers who are hired by a mysterious man named Lambert (Giancarlo Esposito) to capture and watch over Abigail, the daughter of a powerful underworld figure. Naturally, the purpose of her capture is to extort a $50 million ransom. The group quickly discovers that they are trapped inside the house with no ordinary little girl; she is a child vampire who begins to hunt them down one by one.

Alisha Weir in Abigail.
Alisha Weir in Abigail. Image courtesy of Universal.

The Pros and Cons

The biggest con for me is the experience of watching the film. Horror has never been my genre, but I’ve been trying to expose myself more to it over the last few years. I’ve had some successes where the films haven’t scared me as much as I thought they would; this wasn’t one of those times. My anxiety was through the ROOF once Abigail revealed her true form, and it stayed that way for the rest of the film. That being said, the film itself is good and is a nice reimagining of a classic horror film. 

A Modern Vampire Flaw

If you love gory horror, there’s no shortage of it here. Once Abigail starts her killing spree, it gets and stays bloody through the final shot. The one problem I have, though, with modern vampires in films is the teeth, especially when they are done practically. It makes the actors sound slightly mumbled and more difficult to understand than if they had the classic vampire teeth. I understand the reasoning behind having all of their teeth sharp (especially when trying to make films more scary and gory), but I think the effect could be achieved with fewer teeth.

Alisha Weir: A Terrifying Star

Alisha Weir burst onto the scene in the role of Matilda in Matilda the Musical and was equally impressive in this film. As a young Irish actor, she has a great American accent and was able to utilize her dancing talent throughout the film. Once she went full vampire, she was terrifying and held her own among some great actors. I never thought I’d be afraid of a 12-year-old ballerina vampire, but here we are!

Dan Stevens gives another great performance as Frank, the leader of the kidnappers. He looks like he’s having a blast chewing the scenery and using a thick, over-the-top New York accent. Frank also has some of the best quotable lines from the film with almost all of them filled with curse words. There’s also a great twist involving Frank that was unexpected but raises the stakes.

Melissa Barrera continues to excel in the horror genre after appearing as Sam Carpenter in the most recent Scream films, directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (who also directed this film). She is the voice of reason in the group and the only one participating to help someone other than herself. Once the situation turns south, she takes charge and holds her own. She also has great chemistry with Stevens and Weir, as well as the rest of the cast. 

Kevin Durand, Kathryn Newton, and Dan Stevens in Abigail (2024)
Kathryn Newton, Kevin Durand, and Dan Stevens in Abigail. Image courtesy of Universal.

The supporting performances

Speaking of the rest of the cast, Kathryn Newton and Kevin Durand both give great supporting performances as Sammy and Peter, which are both physical and funny. The funniest character, though, was Dean, played by the late Angus Cloud; he was great and had a bright future ahead of him. William Catlett was good as Rickles but didn’t get as much to do as the other cast members. Of course, Giancarlo Esposito is great in his short screen time as Lambert, which is the name of the director of the original Dracula’s Daughter, so I have to imagine that was intentional.

Final Thoughts on Abigail

Overall, Abigail is a good movie that gory horror fans are going to love (myself not included). It also features great performances from the whole cast, with BarreraStevens, and Weir as the standouts. I hope that the film does well and gets love from the horror community, but one viewing was more than enough for me!

Abigail is now in theaters.

Learn how to buy ticket’s at the movie’s website.

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