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‘Abigail’ Review: A Bloody Twist on “Dracula’s Daughter” About a Vicious Vampire Ballerina

‘Abigail’ spins a blood-soaked ballet of horror, where innocence meets the unimaginable in the dance of the undead.

Abigail Review
Universal Pictures

Kids are already a handful. But what if a child is also a murderous vampire ballerina? In Radio Silence’s latest horror film, Abigail, a bunch of misfits, is compelled to combat a terrifying creature that disguises herself as a sweet, innocent girl. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett bring a bloodcurdling, interesting twist to Dracula’s Daughter, discussing child neglect while providing a violent carnage with solid characters.

The horror flick follows Joey (Melissa Barrera), Frank (Dan Stevens), Pete (Kevin Durand), Sammy (Kathryn Newton), Rickles (William Catlett), and Dean (Angus Cloud) as they abduct the ballerina daughter of a powerful underworld leader. As they flee to a remote mansion, under the mentorship of the enigmatic Mr. Lambert (Giancarlo Esposito), they are charged with holding Abigail (Alisha Weir) in confinement for 24 hours until her father pays the ransom. However, they are utterly unaware that they are locked within a building with a vicious creation of the mysterious boss, rather than an ordinary little girl.

Abigail Review

Abigail Review
Universal Pictures

Betinelli-Olpin and Gillett make sure there are no dull moments in Abigail; the action starts right off the bat. The guys behind Scream (2022) put their own wild interpretation on the 1936 classic, but they take it up a level… or many levels. In effect, Abigail not only maintains a sturdy storyline, but it’s also not afraid to be equally goofy and vomit-inducing. The creators combine the innocence of a little dancer with Tchaikovsky’s music, a touch of Danzig, and unthinkable bloodshed—all in front of our eyes.

Undoubtedly, Abigail isn’t for the faint of heart. The creators don’t shy away from the violence, and Weir’s performance as Abigail is simply fantastic. The actress from “Wicked Little Letters” effectively plays the vampire dancer, manipulating a group of thugs from the start and turning them against each other. Abigail’s entire character is immaculate from start to finish, including the Nosferatu-esque make-up—pale skin, large, bright-blue eyes, and, most importantly, long, sharp teeth that can cut into flesh without difficulty. As she dances across the mansion to Danzig’s “Blood and Tears” (really one of the best scenes in Abigail), we can’t help but think about the juxtaposition of the entire situation: a petite girl who at first conjures innocence but quickly transforms into a killing machine.

Universal Pictures

Although Weir takes center stage and steals the show, the rest of the group follows closely behind. All six—Barrera, Cloud, Newton, Durand, Stevens, and Catlett—deliver first-rate performances. Every character has their own personality and contributes something to the whole operation, whether it’s muscle, hacking abilities, or shooting skills. But can this actually stop Abigail? 

Barrera, especially, delivers an outstanding performance as Joey. Known for her talent to the horror genre, in Abigail, the actress goes above and beyond. Newton, too, is a fantastic addition as a goofy adolescent hacker. Cloud and Durand are hysterical, as are Stevens and Catlett. Even though it appears that there wouldn’t be enough time to develop so many characters in just under two hours, the creators do so, giving them multi-dimensionality, particularly when disclosing details about the characters’ personal lives later in the film.

Abigail Review
Universal Pictures

The Radio Silence team doesn’t spare any gore or blood—the film is literally drenched in it. Every action scene is carefully crafted, and the horror is filled with twists and turns as we learn how Abigail was created and who’s behind it. Despite the abundance of films about vampires and many interpretations of their traits, Abigail’s narrative is quite unique, adding another title to the vampire subgenre.

While encountering the presence of children in the horror films, we often feel a sense of threat and dread. Perhaps it’s the aforementioned innocence combined with horror elements that makes it so. All these components make Abigail a wild rollercoaster and a total hoot. From start to finish, the creators offer us a violent feast that will appeal to horror film aficionados and vampire fans alike. 

Grade: A



Abigail

Abigail

After a group of would-be criminals kidnap the 12-year-old ballerina daughter of a powerful underworld figure, all they have to do to collect a $50 million ransom is watch the girl overnight. In an isolated mansion, the captors start to dwindle, one by one, and they discover, to their mounting horror, that they’re locked inside with no normal little girl.

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