May 22, 2024

★★★★

A deliciously easy premise delivers gory satisfaction in Abigail, the primary post-Scream horror from Radio Silence administrators Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. In brief, a pint-sized, tutu carrying, vampire torments ragtag criminals in a Scooby-Doo mansion. It’s correct elevator pitch materials and ballet’s bloodiest episode since Darren Aronofsky pitched Natalie Portman towards Mila Kunis. Neither would final a pas de trois on stage with Alisha Weir.

The rising Irish starlet, most lately of Depraved Little Letters however recognized finest as Netflix’s musical Matilda, performs the titular 12-year-old, daughter of Kristof Lazar, a a lot feared crime lord of the darkest underworld. Contemporary dwelling from a late night time ballet rehearsal, Abigail is kidnapped by six crooks and whisked away to a secluded, center of nowhere, property. She’s there on the behest of Giancarlo Esposito’s Lambert, the shady swimsuit choreographing the heist. The worth on her dainty head is a cool $50m. All Lambert’s irregulars want do for his or her lower is hold Abigail protected and safe for 24 hours. She’s twelve. It may hardly be simpler.

The make up of the group is precisely as one may anticipate, which is to say that their personalities serve solely to what the movie calls for. There’s the idler, the muscle, the ditsy blonde and the femme fatale. It’s neither refined nor progressive however dumbly efficient and buoyed by sensible casting. Take the ditz; she’s elevated tenfold by Freaky and Ant-Man breakout Kathryn Newton. As for the femme fatale, they don’t come higher than Melissa Barrera, reuniting together with her Scream administrators and proffering a lot the identical subversive energy. Dan Stevens performs a mercurial ex-cop, whereas Kevin Durand, Will Catlett and the late Angus Cloud, to whom the movie is devoted, spherical off the staff.

Unnamed for private safety, every prison is as a substitute titled after a member of the Rat Pack, an alias system that works finest in reverse. This pack of rats is ripe for trapping. Right here’s the twist: younger Abigail is definitely a centuries-old vampire and part-time hit lady. The penchant for ballet is reputable – Weir spends the entire movie in full Anna Pavola and a pair of bedazzled pumps – however so is the hearty blood thirst and murderous streak. She may have wiped them out in seconds however concedes ‘I like enjoying with my meals’.

Weir is excellent right here, as soon as once more demonstrating a display presence a way past her years. It’s with easy aptitude that she flirts between ingénue and incubus, her shifts in manor virtually imperceptible…till it’s too late. Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett drench Weir in frankly alarming portions of fake blood all through her spree, though solely drawing on a fraction of their provide for the movie. All get their Carrie second right here. Actually, an early decapitation units out a excessive benchmark for nauseating nastiness, constructing to an almightily gory crescendo because the credit loom. Simply as you suppose you’ve bought the measure of the factor, you’ll realise you too have been Abigail’s plaything.

It’s all tremendously gothic too. The labyrinthine mansion setting proves pitch good for hair elevating spookiness, whereas a contact of the fantastical can’t assist however come up from the blurring of Brian Tyler’s rating with the central theme of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Elements of lore are gifted a playful triviality, with humour nicely laced by means of the horror. Abigail could also be owe its origins to Lambert – see the nod? – Hillyer’s Common Monster flick Dracula’s Daughter however is each bit its personal beast.

T.S.