review by Bobby Blakey
The most popular side of the horror genre these days seems to be that of the hauntings. With films like the Insidious franchise and Conjuring raking it in at the box office it comes as no surprise that there are a slew trying to bring their own haunted vision to the masses. The latest, Abattoir starring Jessica Lowndes, Joe Anderson, Dayton Callie, Michael Pare and Insidious alumni Lin Shaye with SAW 2, 3, and 4 director Darren Lynn Bousman at the helm, but does it offer up anything to help it stand out or will it be a haunting not worth exorcising?
Abottoir follows an investigative reporter works to solve the mystery behind a mysterious man who has been buying houses where tragedies have occurred. Set in a world where it always feels like night, even in daylight hours, real estate reporter Julia Talben's life is turned upside down when her family is brutally murdered. It is believed to be an open and close case, but Julia quickly realizes there is much more to this story when she returns to the crime scene to find the murder room deconstructed and physically removed from her sister's home. This ignites an investigative pursuit that eventually leads her and ex-lover Detective Declan Grady to the town of New English where they find the enigmatic Jebediah Crone and the Abattoir - a monstrous house stitched together with unending rooms of death and the damned. I am a big fan of a lot of Bousman’s as well as the always great Lin Shaye so I was excited to see what the two had up their sleeve, but in the end it was just an average execution. The story is simple enough, but takes so long to really get anywhere that you might find yourself losing interest before it gets to the meat of the story.
The cast are hit and miss with their performances with really only Lin Shaye standing out. She isn’t in the film as much as I would have liked but you can see that she is all in and creates easily the most memorable character of the film. From the moment you see her you know there is something off with her, but you can’t really tell if that is a good or bad thing. Once it gets to the actual creepy nature of the house it picks up with a great sequence taking you through the terror behind it all. It’s this sequence that really makes the film worth checking out, but sadly it veers from this cool moment into a more generic approach that felt more average than I hoped. I didn’t find anything all that scary about the film, but that is more likely the jaded nature of my view of horror films so some may find it creepy at times, but never fully as scary as it could have been otherwise.
In the end this film felt more like the straight to home entertainment fare that is crowding the shelves these days, but does offer up some aspects that stand out a bit more. If you are a fan of the genre then check it out and decide for yourself on VOD, Digital HD and in theaters.