Ballerina vampire flick "Abigail" is just enough bloody fun

Abigail (2024)

How can a horror caper involving a 12-year-old ballerina vampire feasting on a group of kidnappers possibly live up to that can’t-miss concept? "Abigail," the once-stealth Universal Monster Movie from Radio Silence ("Ready or Not"), definitely tries, with a game ensemble getting doused in plasma by the cannon. But once it shows its cards, this "'House on Haunted Hill' with a tutu-wearing bloodsucker” is fun without ever fully taking off.

A team of six criminals, all of them strangers, comes together to kidnap Abigail (Alisha Weir), the ballet-loving daughter of a tech billionaire, and take her to an abandoned mansion, all for a split of $50 million. Lambert (Giancarlo Esposito), who has hired them, reminds these criminals that this is a 24-hour job with no real names and no backstories, just babysitting the little twerp until they each get their cut. In the meantime, he names each of them after the Rat Pack. There’s ex-medic Joey (Melissa Barrera); ex-cop Frank (Dan Stevens); ex-soldier Rickles (William Catlett); intellectually dim muscle Peter (Kevin Durand); driver Dean (Angus Cloud); and look-out/hacker Sammy (Kathryn Newton). The fun really begins when they realize the mansion has been locked down and they can’t leave. 

Whether or not you’ve seen the trailers, you can imagine these kidnappers are about to be in over their heads. If you have paid attention to the promos, then you know that this could have been titled "Dracula’s Daughter." Yes, Abigail is not a cute pre-teen girl who likes to practice her Swan Lake in an empty concert hall but actually a centuries-old vampire who likes to play with her food. 

Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett and writers Stephen Shields ("The Hole in the Ground") and Guy Busick (2022's "Scream" and "Scream VI") have all of the ingredients here for a fresh genre remix, and some of the pieces do play out effectively in execution once the film giddies up. The threat at the center of Abigail is the main hook here—and it’s a deliciously bonkers one—but the filmmakers surprisingly only manage a few moments of inspiration after the reveal. Read the full review at

Grade: B -

Universal Pictures released "Abigail" (109 min.) in theaters on April 19, 2024.