Interview with “Abigail” Review: Homage to Campy, Classic-Carnage Filled Horror

Interview with “Abigail” Review: Homage to Campy, Classic-Carnage Filled Horror

Kirsten Dunst’s Claudia (“Interview With The Vampire”) walked so Abigail could run



The horror genre has always been criticized unfairly, with horror filmmakers often saying that critics approach new films with skepticism—making it difficult for them to succeed, especially in award ceremonies. What is it about horror that turns even the most avid movie buffs away? Could it be the lack of realism or drama? Or is it the use of old-fashioned special effects like fake blood and wirework that make them cringe?


Abigail is directed by the dynamic duo of Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who have both garnered critical acclaim. They were able to establish a cult following with their 2019 box office hit Ready or Not, which landed them the 2022 reboot of the Scream franchise, starring Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega. The latest addition to their collaboration, Abigail, retains all the hallmarks of their best work while offering a refreshing take on classic vampire mythology.



The film begins with the symphony of Black Swan (if you're unfamiliar with the lore, have you been living under a rock? Go watch Aronofsky’s 2010 film right now!); a ballet with themes of transformation and the succumbing of oneself to the dark side. In Abigail, it’s a fitting foreshadowing of things to come. Audiences are thrown smack dab in the middle of action, where we are introduced to a group of organized criminals who have been brought together to kidnap the daughter of a mysterious billionaire named Abigail. 


Interview with "Abigail" Review: Homage to Campy, Classic-Carnage Filled Horror


If they make it out alive in the next 24 hours, they plan to exchange Abigail, played by Alisha Weir (Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical) for a large ransom to be split evenly between the six individuals responsible for the heist. The group is played by Melissa Barrera (Scream franchise), Dan Stevens (Gaslit), Kathryn Newton (Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania), Will Catlett (Black Lightning), Kevin Durand (Resident Evil: Retribution) and Angus Cloud (Euphoria) as the kidnappers.


Abigail's abduction goes off without a hitch, commencing the next phase of their elaborate scheme: confining the billionaire's daughter to an abandoned mansion for 24 hours. As we observe the awkward and icy chemistry between our characters, it’s clear that the characters are in the dark regarding their identities and backgrounds—a deliberate ambiguity that adds intrigue to the unfolding drama. Central to the mission's protocol is the strict adherence to anonymity and secrecy, “no names, no backstories,” shrouding the narrative in mystery and suspense, a witty commentary on the classic horror tropes of expendable characters being the meat of a horror film. Stephen Shields and Guy Busick, the writers of Abigail, clearly understand that the viewers are not meant to know a lot about our characters, as their main purpose is to die and suffer and serve all-out gore. 


Interview with "Abigail" Review: Homage to Campy, Classic-Carnage Filled Horror


Melissa Barrera carries this film as the lead. Fresh from the Scream franchise, she proves yet again what a force she is as she commands the screen with her femme fatale demeanor. A final girl through and through but will not give you the chance to mock her with the cliché “Mary Sue” moniker, occasionally shared by characters under the “final girl” trope


Interview with "Abigail" Review: Homage to Campy, Classic-Carnage Filled Horror


Dan Stevens plays her comedic foil very well as the Brooklyn downtrodden cop who leads the criminal operation. Dan Stevens is effortlessly funny and bounces well between the cast, especially with strong man Peter played by Kevin Durand. The group’s muscle and resident himbo Angus Cloud (seen here posthumously) also shines with the little screen time that he is given in a bittersweet farewell to a tragic talent with so much potential. And Alisha Weir, who plays the titular role, clearly took notes from Kirsten Dunst’s Claudia from 1994’s Interview With The Vampire—but less aloof and brooding, more conniving and sinister. Claudia walked so Abigail could run. 


The film shines brightest in its lively and humorous script, carried by a dynamic cast. However, the editing and scene transitions occasionally feel awkward and hastily stitched together, detracting slightly from the overall experience. While this was a bit distracting, it didn't overshadow the film entirely. Nevertheless, Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett showcase once again their expertise in crafting effective jump scares and sustaining suspense, all while still highlighting the talents of the female leads.


Interview with "Abigail" Review: Homage to Campy, Classic-Carnage Filled Horror


In the late 2010s and early 2020s, a trend known as “elevated horror” emerged, characterized by horror films that delve deeper into societal themes while still delivering scares. Movies in this genre often present seemingly typical narratives that, upon closer examination, reveal profound messages about contemporary culture. Think arthouse cinema, but more accessible and palatable (thanks to A24!). Films like 2018’s Suspiria and 2019’s Midsommar, which initially faced criticism but later earned praise for its portrayal of femininity and agency in a world dominated by male-driven conflict. While there are numerous examples of elevated horror, Abigail takes a different approach. It's a bold, gory and self-aware spectacle that’s more focused on delivering thrills and laughs than exploring deeper societal issues, but I can see Abigail joining their ranks.


Interview with "Abigail" Review: Homage to Campy, Classic-Carnage Filled Horror


Abigail delivers an exhilarating and blood-soaked thrill ride that guarantees a fantastic time at the movies. It’s best experienced alongside your partner or closest friends in a bustling theater; the infectious energy of the crowd elevates the viewing experience. With twists abound, some anticipated and others catching you off guard, the film's plot could easily become convoluted in less capable hands. However, thanks to its strong direction, well-paced storytelling and compelling performances, each twist feels natural and keeps you invested in the journey. You find yourself willingly surrendering to Abigail's direction, eager to see where she leads you next.


“Abigail” is available to watch in cinemas now!



Words Charles Boswell

Art Dani Sison


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