Review: Abominable

Posted by Peter Hall - November 4th 2007 @ 12:03 pm

Directed by Ryan Schifrin, 2006
Written by Ryan Schifrin, Story by James Morrison

Abominable Poster

Abominable is an unstoppable good time, the single most admirable straight-to-DVD film in years and flatly the best cryptozoological horror ever made. Supremely ambitious, never compromising personality for cheap satisfaction, Ryan Schifrin’s ripped open the cabin bound terror tale with the same fervor of a fat kid ripping open a bag of Utz Sour Cream chips: All smiles, all appetite, all fury.

I fail to understand why any monster movie is instantly dubbed schlock. People cannot, for some reason, concede that monsters can be, and should often be, taken seriously. I know that the sheer oppressive volume of terrible STD horror comes with weighted expectations, but even still it seems that no positive review of something like Abominable can escape the loose qualifier, “it is pretty good for, ya know, a cheesy monster movie.”

No. It isn’t just pretty good for a cheesy monster movie. It is, without qualifier, a good movie. If anything movies like Abominable, which are as rarely sighted as the creatures they portray, deserve even more credit for being good films despite people’s expectations otherwise. Not everyone has a limitless budget. Most importantly, not everyone has talent. When I find a movie where everyone involved had more talent than financing, it honestly pisses me off to hear people put an asterisk next to any praise. Is it really that hard to appreciate something separately for what it is, not what it is categorically a part of? Admit it surprised you, but don’t be embarrassed about it. Abominable isn’t embarrassed of what it is, neither should you be.

Matt McCoy is Preston Rogers, a crippled man ordered by his doctor to return to the cabin site of his fateful mountain climbing accident. Escorted by a creepy orderly, Preston has little else to do but stare out the windows at a neighboring cabin, which just so happens to currently be rented out for an all girls getaway. It doesn’t take long before the lumbering giant shows up, preying on a mixture of girls and local hunters. Trapped in a cabin with downed phone lines and confined to a wheelchair, Preston tries his hardest to warn everyone he can.

Obviously there is a very strong Rear Window current running through the character of Preston Rogers. This is an inspired transplanting of ideas and settings. It allows for some intense moments and a great vessel for Matt McCoy to act his wide-eyed, Lloyd Braun in a chair ass off. As if Dee Wallace in the opening scene wasn’t enough, Lance Henriksen and Jeffrey Combs share a few great on screen moments.

Bigfoot himself is a commanding beast and Ryan Schifrin found all the right people to bring him to life. His presence is believable and, most shockingly, his behavior is terrifying. There is, for once, valid gore in a sasquatch picture. Not enough to drench the serious hand at play in complete silliness, but enough to pry watching jaws open again and again.

I think the greatest testament I can offer to just how much I loved Abominable is thus: In a day that saw 8 films – 7 great, 1 bad – Abominable was easily the most fun to be had not only by me, but everyone else in the room. And this was a day where the competition comprised of The Tripper, Hatchet, Black Water, 13 Beloved, Shrooms, Alone and Wrong Turn 2. Save for, perhaps, Shrooms, every single one of those flicks had a bigger budget, bigger cast and just plain bigger production backing, but not a single one had the same big, hairy, bloody heart as Abominable.


rss 8 comments
  1. Matt Wells
    November 5th, 2007 | 10:04 am | #1

    I’m so glad that my friend and I aren’t the only ones who liked this movie. I saw this when it premiered on Sci-Fi over a year ago. Might be closer to 1 and a half years. I’ve been waiting for you to do a review on it.

    We both laughed when the monster seemed to stiff-arm Jeffrey Combs and run away with him, and when he grabbed the rag-doll naked chick out of the window. I was just waiting for Matt McCoy to turn into Lloyd Braun and yell “SERENITY NOW!” and start kicking some ass.

  2. R.J. Sayer
    November 5th, 2007 | 2:30 pm | #2

    you know, i thought that the suit was amazing, and the score was great. and the brief scene of Henriksen and Combs was awesome. but overall, i felt that Schifrin has no idea how to effectively direct actors or a camera.

    don’t get me wrong, it was fun once. and you’re right, it’s better than most of the bigfoot movies out there, and – really – most of the DTV horror to plague shelves recently, but it just had too many flaws (and all indicators point to Schifrin as the culprit) to be the truly GREAT bigfoot film it could’ve been.

    if only that awesomely terrifying suit and Lalo’s score could’ve found a better movie to be in…

    how was Shrooms?

  3. R.J. Sayer
    November 5th, 2007 | 2:32 pm | #3

    also… UTZ MAKES SOUR CREAM CHIPS?

    the fat kid in me is dying to know where i can get them… stupid health-food obsessed LA.

    gimme some good ol’ Anderson Erickson sour cream and chive dip and a bag of Dad’s Potato chips…

  4. Matt W
    November 5th, 2007 | 2:46 pm | #4

    One other thing that made me like this movie was the awful-nostalgic inside of me. This was Paul Gleason’s last movie (principle in Breakfast Club). And although he was by no means a true thespian, he always gave ya what you’d expect him to give.

  5. November 5th, 2007 | 4:10 pm | #5

    Andy: I’m bummed you didn’t like it. I ate the whole thing up.

    As for Shrooms, it was the worst movie of the day. Not completely worthless, but no where near the potential of that poster/trailer. Plus it had a stupid, stupid ending. I’ll be rolling out reviews of all 8 films throughout the next few weeks – gotta stretch ‘em out since I won’t be around. And yes, Utz does make Sour Cream (and Onion) Chips.

    Matt: I was wondering to myself that this may have been Paul Gleason’s last film, as I thought he had recently passed away. But then I started doubting and somehow convinced myself I was just thinking of John Vernon.

  6. R.J. Sayer
    November 11th, 2007 | 3:32 am | #6

    well, i think one of the problems was that my anticipation of it was pretty serious and i was expecting a whole helluva lot.

    i felt pretty let down. i’ve been thinking – however – of giving it another chance. a friend of mine recently saw it and totally disagreed with my opinion, so maybe…

    also, totally agree with you, Matt, about Paul Gleason. it’s a damn shame he’s gone. except i would go so far as to call him a “true thespian”. i’m a huge fan of character actors in general, and along with Brion James and J.T. Walsh, feel that the industry suffers a great loss with him gone.

  7. Matt W
    November 11th, 2007 | 2:56 pm | #7

    “true thespian? hmmm dunno if I’d do that. But I can’t deny the loss of a good character actor.

    And same goes for John Vernon, and even though he’s the dean in Animal House, he will always be known by me as the very first thing I saw him in, and that was Rubert Thorne in Batman the Animated Series.

  8. September 10th, 2009 | 3:50 pm | #8

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