Abigail is the tale of a gang of criminals who kidnap a little girl in the hopes of trading her for ransom. They get more than they bargained for when it is revealed the little girl is a vampire.

Bad guys who accidentally mess with someone worse than them is a great trope. It usually shows up in the action genre, like John Wick, but it occasionally pops up in horror, as well. For example, the Tales From the Crypt episode, The Secret, is about vampires who adopt an orphan to feed on, only to discover the orphan is a werewolf.

Well, well, well…how the turntables…

Let’s take a mostly spoiler-free look at Abigail.

Abigail Road

Abigail is from Universal pictures. One wonders if it is a relic of their failed Dark Universe experiment. Abigail is loosely based on Dracula’s Daughter from 1936, so maybe. Dracula’s Daughter also has a kidnapping, but different circumstances are involved.

Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett direct. They are the duo who brought you Scream 72 and Scream 73. This should be an inkling of what to expect: a horror movie that is a bit meta and has some laughs. For the most part, Abigail displays this sort of tone throughout.

The characters in Abigail are aware of vampires, so they waste little time trying to figure out what kind of adversary they battle. Likewise, said battling is more absurd than horrifying. It’s a bit like From Dusk ‘Til Dawn in this vein, if you pardon the pun.

Stephen Shields and Guy Busick had writing duties on the film. Busick also came from the Scream franchise. Shields arrived via the more low-budget horror route. Their story is fun, but some warts do reveal themselves as the film goes along.

Florence Abigail

Abigail is a team movie, like Aliens, Deep Rising and the like. A lot of the success of the movie rides on the chemistry between the performers.

Melissa Barrera gets top billing. Barrera sports more eye makeup than Sho Kosugi and has the face of a belly dancer. She followed Olpin, Gillett, and Busick over from the Scream franchise.

Dan Stevens is next in line. Many will recognize Stevens as the antagonist from The Guest. Stevens should have a bigger career. He has the glare of a medieval mesmerizer and a gravelly voice, which helps give him a genuine presence onscreen.


Will Catlett looks like he should be the son of Die Hard 2 actor Vondie Curtis-Hall, but he is not.

Kathryn Newton was in the last Antman movie (sad trombone). Here she plays a computer expert.

Well-known character actor Kevin Durand (X-Men) provides the muscle for the group. He is pretty much Lennie from Of Mice and Men with a taste for booze.

Angus Cloud plays the guy you know will be the first to die. Sadly, this proved true in real life, as well. Cloud died of an overdose last year, and Abigail is dedicated to his memory.

Breaking Bad baddy Giancarlo Esposito and Watchman baddy Matthew Goode also pop into the film briefly. Unfortunately, their roles do not amount to much.

The Vampire

Alisha Weir gets the title role. As with most movies that feature a child, the movie can live or die on the back of their performance. Is Weir annoying or tolerable?

She is tolerable, bordering on good at times. Weir is forgettable when she pretends innocence, but she achieves genuine malevolence once her true nature is revealed.


The reveal of Abigail’s nature is one point on which the movie stumbles, however. The trailers give her secret away, but the viewer is forced to watch about half of the movie before Abigail is unleashed. When she does finally vamp out, she is a screaming, biting machine.

All of that stuff is fun, and the movie achieves a reasonable level of entertainment. In fact, Abigail could easily be a lost Tales From the Crypt movie, which I mentioned earlier. Throw in an intro and an outro featuring the Cryptkeeper, and you have yourself a fun little addition to the universe of Demon Knight and Bordello of Blood.

Abigail-force winds

So where does Abigail falter? It basically has four minor faults. For one, a number of the vampire rules are quickly tossed out. If you enjoy garlic and crosses in your vampire movies, you are out of luck with Abigail. This disappointed me. Part of what makes vampires fun is that they have rules they must abide by. This levels the playing field to a degree.

Next, the movie’s go-to move is splitting up. Abigail must use the split-up trope a good four times. Every time it happens, a character exits the film.

While the three acts are mostly solid, Abigail spirals out of tolerance in the climax. It makes the mistake of not staying linear in its approach to the villain. The other issue is related to writing/casting.

Quite simply, Barrera doesn’t have what it takes to carry the day. Four other performers easily steal the spotlight from her. As a result, the viewer has no real interest in seeing Barrera’s character win. We are much more invested in other folks, whose stories are a lot more fun.

Abigail the Final Analysis

Abigail is entertaining, but it can’t quite close the deal on becoming a minor classic of the genre. That’s too bad because it had the necessary parts. It just took its eye off the ball in the end. It will likely do okay at the box office, though. It’s a throwback to fun horror movies.

3 stars

Check back every day for movie news and reviews at the Last Movie Outpost

LMO Fcaebook LMO Instagram LMO Twitter LMO YouTube LMO Social Discord