When I first put "Abominable"
into my DVD player, I didn't know what to make of it. I'll give
you the full rundown later--first we've got to get the plot covered.
So what we have here
plotwise is the homecoming of a newly-paraplegic former mountain
climber named Preston Rogers, who apparently not only has the worst
luck in the world but also the worst timing. He's managed to come
home at the exact same time a string of unexplained and bloody happenings
have been going on. Apparently, lots of animals, and possibly some
people too, have been recently killed by a mystery beast...that
leaves behind only mangled corpses...and big footprints.
Yes, that's right...it's
a movie about Bigfoot.
And this is where my
It's a movie about the
abominable snowman, for crying out loud. It's a YETI flick. And
let's be honest, the whole monster movie genre's sort of hard up
these days, what with chupacabras cropping up left, right and center
and various insects in hot pursuit. Most of them turn out as nothing
but cinematic miseries, near-total wastes of time and DVD plastic.
And then, bloody hell,
"Nightline"--yes, "Nightline"! weighed in and
called director Schifrin "the future of horror". Such
hyperbole from a source that ranks so spectacularly low on credibility
in the indie horror genre smacks of true desperation.
Don't even get me started
when Harry Knowles said it was good. That's a monster red flag for
But...but then I got
to looking at the components of the movie. Lance Henriksen was in
it. Longtime readers know that I personally consider Lance Henriksen
to be a guaranteed good performance no matter what movie he's in.
And Jeffrey Combs too? Longtime readers will also know I back Combs
to the ever-lovin' hilt.
And it certainly does
not hurt to feature Tiffany Shepis. The Divine Miss Shepis's performances
have always been choice in my experience--her performances pretty
much made "Scare Crow" and "The Hazing" for
Then Fango weighed in,
and gave it some true props, and suddenly, I began to wonder.
So, okay. You've sat
through a couple hundred words of me analyzing components like this
was a soup recipe, and you're wondering by now, what the hell do
I actually THINK about this little affair and when am I finally
going to tell you?
What Schifrin and company
have done here is basically, somehow, managed to make a monster
movie out of "Rear Window". We've got the paraplegic guy
watching out his back window, keeping an eye out for monsters in
the woods while the monster in question stalks and kills the woods'
occupants. Even better, it is a plain example of survival horror,
at least in its last half hour, and for that reason alone "Abominable"
beats most of the rest.
And I'm frankly awed.
It's almost an insult to Schifrin's work to say that this is, clearly,
one of the best monster movies I've ever seen. Mostly because the
field is so incredibly flat that even the very best looks like a
measly molehill, but Schifrin's sitting on top of the Everest of
And it's true--Henriksen,
Combs and Shepis give performances that clearly let me justify my
earlier expressed feelings on these three. No one else is any kind
of slouch in the acting department either. The writing is taut and
ultimately believable. The effects aren't very pronounced but what
is used is used well and believably, and isn't that the ultimate
best use of special effects anyway?
Even better, they've
managed to insert occasional bursts of comedy into their narrative,
and this improves the nature of things even further.
The only way this could
have possibly been better is if they'd somehow managed to include
Brad Dourif, but hey, I'm splitting hairs here. This is still unbelievable
stuff here no matter how you dissect it.
The ending, in fact,
the entire last half hour, is packed to the gills with unbelievably
tense action, and is just amazing to watch. It's an adrenaline surge
to beat Red Bull as the events unfold before you. And even better,
there will be a surprise at the end. A very, very big surprise.
The special features
include a making-of featurette, commentary track, deleted scenes,
extended scenes, a blooper reel, outtakes, a copy of Schifrin's
USC student film "Shadows", poster and still gallery,
storyboard gallery, a screenplay for the DVD-ROM drive crew, and
two different trailers for "Abominable".
All in all, Schifrin
is a genius, and "Abominable" is the proof. This is absolutely
worth every second of your rental.
DVDDirected by Ryan Schifrin
Written by Ryan Schifrin
Starring Matt McCoy, Haley Joel, Lance Henriksen, Jeffrey Combs
Produced by Donna Cockrell, Theresa Hartman, Paul Spadone
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