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“I’m sorry about what's gonna happen to you.” Abigail (Alisha Weir)

In “Abigail,” six “professional” kidnappers (Melissa Barrera, Dan Stevens, Kathryn Newton, Kevin Durand, William Catlett, and the late Angus Cloud), snatch a 12-year-old “tiny dancer” ballerina hoping to relieve 50 million big ones from her wealthy dad. Thanks to the way-too-revealing trailer, we know she will deliver on the quote above—Abigail’s a vampire, you see, and amusingly the crooks have nicknames from Sinatra’s rat pack.

Despite assurance from the boss, Lambert (Giancarlo Esposito), that the “the hard part’s over,” the fun for Abagail has just begun-- promising stuff from writers Stephen Shields and Guy Busick, before the tropes take over. Thankfully, Weir, with her sardonic one liner’s, is a natural horror giver with a long future ahead of her even outside the bloody business.

 As we get to know the crooks in the opening sequences, “Abigail” is a promising font of witty repartee doing a Usual-Suspects comic routine, reminiscent of Guy Ritchie. Alas, once the gore begins, and it does fully and frequently, horror-fest fans will be satisfied and word guys like me will lament the lost opportunities for smart dialogue.

 Thanks to Barrera and her shag haircut, we can recall fondly the horror flicks of the ‘70’s—she wears well, and we should see more of her in Scream-like films, if not slipping over into Kristen-Stewart art- house territory.

 Thanks to the collective known as Radio Silence, two founders and directors, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, continue their Ready or Not and Screams V and VI craftsmanship with this gore fest that not only entertains but also includes some of that snappy dialogue—

“What are we talking about, like an Anne Rice or a True Blood? You know Twilight? Very different kind of vampires.” Kathryn Newton’s Sammy

“What can I say? I like playing with my food.” Abigail

“I f--ing hate ballet.” Frank (Stevens)


Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin (Scream, Ready or Not), Tylar Gillett (Scream, Ready or Not)

Screenplay: Stephen Shields (Hunted), Guy Busick (Screan, Ready or Not)

Cast: Melissa Barrera (In the Heights), Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast)

Run Time: 1h 49m

Rating: R


John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts NPR’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics as well as podcasts Back Talk and Double Take (recently listed by Feedspot as two of the ten best NPR Movie Podcasts) out of WCBE 90.5 FM, Columbus, Ohio. Contact him at


John DeSando