It’s a good time to be a horror fan. Truthfully, in the era of Jordan Peele, that’s been an easy thing to say for a while. However, 2024 continues bringing us scary movie goodness at a fast and furious pace. This spring has given viewers horror movies of all shapes and sizes, and with each passing fright, it seems audiences are here for the goodness. The wealth of abundance continues this week as Abigail opens. Will the vampire ballerina movie continue the hot streak, or will it have audiences reaching for the garlic? 

Abigail follows a group of ne’er-do-wells as they break into a ritzy mansion to kidnap a wealthy crime lord’s daughter (Alisha Weir). However, as their plans evolve and shift, things grow exponentially more complicated. Is the sweet, young ballerina really a vampire? Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett direct Abigail from a script by Stephen Shields and Guy Busick. Melissa Barrera, Dan Stevens, Kathryn Newton, Kevin Durand, Angus Cloud and William Catlett co-star in the film.

Melissa Barrera wears a facemask as she 'pinky swears' Alisha Weir.

Almost immediately, Abigail taps into one of this critic’s favorite horror experiences from the last few years: Ready or Not. The film, of course, comes from the same filmmakers (Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett) and taps into a very similar sense of bloody fun. Those squeamish about blood or body horror should give this one a miss, but those who don’t mind some gore are in for a great time. 

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In fact, the mostly contained film (it takes place largely in one location) is an absolute blast from start to finish. This is primarily thanks to the talented and charismatic cast. Melissa Barrera is a quiet yet powerful influence, reminding audiences why she remains one of the strongest performers in modern-day horror. Barerra is our 21st-century “Scream Queen.” At the same time, the rest of the cast brings their comedic A-game with some truly on-point banter. Dan Stevens follows up his delightfully fun turn in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire with a drastically different but equally tongue-in-cheek performance. 2024 is proving to be Cousin Matthew’s year. 

However, we’d be shirking our responsibilities if we didn’t take the time to praise Alisha Weir for her complicated turn as Abigail. She leaps into a role that could, at times, be distractingly comedic and finds Regan MacNeil levels of terrifying in an alternatingly creepy and disconcerting yet sympathetic performance.

Melissa Barrera holds a gun while Dan Stevens holds a stake as they look at something off camera.

Ultimately, while the movie was a heck of a lot of fun, there’s a chance the many laugh-out-loud moments might get in the way for those looking for straight scares. Abigail is most certainly a horror-comedy, but it’s more accurately defined as a comedy first. This movie is big, brash and very bloody. However, except for some early moments, it’s difficult to say it elicits many scares. 

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With all that said, though, Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett continue their hot streak as two of the hottest young auteurs currently working in horror. The directors come to Abigail having helmed the most recent entries in the Scream franchise. Before that, as mentioned, they directed Ready or Not, the stand-out horror comedy of 2019. The artistic fingerprints they’ve been laying out since that work burst on on the scene are very much visible this time around in Abigail

Abigail continues 2024’s horror hot streak. Movies like Late Night with the Devil, Immaculate, The First Omen and now Abigail have kept us riveted this spring. It’s hard to argue that audiences aren’t aching to be scared. Abigail is bold and bloody, but above all else, it’s a heck of a lot of fun. If you liked Ready or Not, be sure to add this one to your list. 

Abigail is now playing in theaters around the country. 

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Kimberly Pierce
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