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‘Abigail’: A ballerina vampire’s bloody ballet that is far from terrifying

*Spoilers*

Loosely inspired by the 1936 film “Dracula’s Daughter,” “Abigail” was theatrically released on April 19. The horror-comedy film follows a group of six criminals who kidnap the daughter of a man from whom they demand 50 million dollars in exchange for the 12-year-old girl, Abigail (Alisha Weir). The group is initially unaware of Abigail’s father’s identity and has to watch her for 24 hours so that each of them can collect their seven-million-dollar check.

The “rules” of this operation indicate that no personal information is to be shared within the group, so the criminals use aliases. Through these aliases, the audience learns the backstory of the individuals; sociopathic getaway driver Dean (Angus Cloud), former NYPD detective Frank (Dan Stevens), ex-Marine Rickles (Will Catlett), mob enforcer Peter (Kevin Durand), affluent unethical hacker Sammy (Kathryn Newton) and ex-Army medic and junkie Joey (Melissa Barrera) who is doing this operation to get her son back.

After what feels like an hour of setup, the horror begins when Dean is mysteriously decapitated, prompting Frank to point a gun at Abigail to learn the identity of her father. Learning that he is Kirstoff Lazar (Matthew Goode), a powerful underground crime lord, the gang begins to panic. Peter tries to leave the mansion, only to find that the security system has activated, trapping them inside. While they search for ways to escape, Rickles is mauled to death, leading Frank to threaten Abigail. Abigail then transforms into a creature and begins to attack the remaining four.

Only after Sammy’s exclamation does the audience learn that Abigail is actually a vampire, and her manipulative behavior begins to make sense. It’s revealed that Abigail had lured the group together to kill them all, seeking vengeance for wrongs against her father, who turned her. As they try to survive, Joey discovers that sunlight is Abigail’s weakness. However, Sammy gets bitten by Abigail, leading to her being controlled and killing Peter by feeding on him. Abigail then targets Frank and Joey, resulting in Abigail’s explosive, bloody death when Joey reflects sunlight onto her.

When it came to the final two survivors, the head of the operation, Lambert (Giancarlo Esposito) — who has been working with Abigail while planning her death — convinces Frank to turn into a vampire. Frank then kills Lambert and goes after Abigail and Joey, causing the two girls to team up and ultimately defeat him. Joey then gets to go home to reunite with her son.

The film incorporates comedy and gore to create three-dimensional characters and uses symbolism such as a lollipop for Joey’s addiction and Abigail’s love for ballet. However, these symbols contribute nothing to the cinematography or plotline, serving as filler.

However, Weir, previously known for “Matilda,” is the selling point of this movie with her delivery, expressions and dedication to portraying a murderous ballerina vampire. The stark contrast from innocent, sweet Matilda to a cunning vampire is baffling to witness as Weir goes full throttle in her role as Abigail, solidifying her as the best actor in the entire film. The comedic timing of her fellow actors is where they excelled during the movie, but in other scenes, the acting was subpar, further emphasizing the talent Weir possesses. 

Despite Weir’s acting elevating the film, the movie still falls short in other areas. While the special effects and CGI are decent, they don’t fully compensate for weak dialogue, uninspired camerawork and underexplored themes. 

The movie is ideal for passing the time or recommending a scary-but-not-scary movie to a friend. “Abigail” can still be enjoyable for a casual movie night, offering a blend of horror and comedy that’s perfect for a mellow viewing experience. 

Verdict: Kidnapping Dracula’s daughter doesn’t ever end well — and neither does “Abigail.”

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