Abigail is a movie about a small team of mercenaries hired to kidnap a young girl and keep her in a large mansion for a day until her father pays the ransom.

Naturally not is all as it seems; Abigail is no ordinary girl, her father is no ordinary man and the mercenaries, including our focal character ‘Joey’, are being set up.

The mansion is locked down, elements of the job aren’t making sense, and something is in there with them… hunting.


Alright, minor rant incoming, I’ll keep it brief I promise.

This movie lives on the strength of its primary revelation. That Abigail is less of a ‘who’ and more of a ‘what’.

This would have actually been somewhat compelling… if it were not for the fact that trailers gave basically everything away immediately. There was no attempt to preserve the moment, they spoil it all. I’d be surprised if one cinema goer in fifty didn’t go in already knowing the mid-act twist.

So yeah, if you didn’t know already, Abigail turns out to be a vampire.


Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett claim this is a re-imagining of 1936 classic monster movie ‘Dracula’s Daughter’ so perhaps the surprise was dead on arrival anyway, but still they play off the beginning as if the big revelation is going to be some shocking twist we won’t see coming.

I freely admit I am no horror aficionado. I saw ‘Signs’ at the tender age of too fricking young for that shit and decided from that point onward that movies were never allowed to be scary again thank you very much.

So that’s the guy who’s sitting here writing that this movie was not particularly scary.

It’s a bloody splatterhouse where certain individuals literally explode into fountains of gore coating everything and everyone in the vicinity in themselves; but even for me the jump-scares, who was going to die and when were predictable and fairly reliably patterned.


The mercs themselves are a fairly diverse cross section of stereotypes.

There’s the beefy dumb guy, the asshole professional smart dude, the peppey teenage girl hacker, the tattooed skinhead slurring his words so severely I assume the actor was stoned in real life, the quietly dangerous sniper and Joey. An early scene establishes Joey’s credentials by having her Sherlock scan the other members of the group and tell them all what their deal is, the character building equivalent of speed dating. So we know she’s smart. The movie also shows her hesitating when she learns her target is a child and has her taking care of Abigail pre release in a way that is definitely supposed to establish her as compassionate.


Abigail herself is obviously the main focus, she’s right there in the title.

She’s presented at first as your average rich ballet dancing privileged pre-teen girl. She spends the first few minutes of the movie dancing to an empty theatre and is dressed in the same tutu the entire way through… even after the thing becomes drenched in the blood of several different people.

We are set up to believe this is all an act. That the monster below is putting on a careful façade to lure in her prey and toy with the meat already halfway to her maw.

Then the ending happens.

Here comes the part where I struggle to avoid actual spoilers because what was that? Is Abigail a horrible monster in the form of a little girl, with the innocent act a carefully constructed mask to lure in prey? Or is she a child neglected by her vampire father who just needs a hug?

A last minute shift in the entire direction of the story has me genuinely wondering if the ending was filmed separately to the rest of the movie, it seems to put different motivations into the heads of characters who really didn’t have them five minutes before.

Perhaps I’m wrong, but something about it struck me as a reluctance to truly have the child be the bad guy, no matter how much effort they have spent on convincing us she is a murderous centuries old creature and that her destruction would legitimately be the best for humanity.

In short, Abigail was nothing to write home about. There’s plenty to love in here and the cinematography is actually very good at times. Creepy dancing Abigail is a repeating motif that helps tie the narrative together neatly. Alisha Weir does a convincing bounce between innocent and creepy as the titular character and the whole package was rather well paced.

Just don’t expect it to change your life.

Abigail 2024
Abigail (Universal Pictures – 2024) Review
Film details

Year: 2024
Rating: R16+
Running Time: 109 MIN
Genre: Horror
Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Starring: Melissa Barrera, Dan Stevens, Kathryn Newton, Will Catlett, Kevin Durand, Angus Cloud, Alisha Weir, Giancarlo Esposito
Production Studio: Project X Entertainment
Distributor: Universal Pictures

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