• RELEASE DATE: Now in Theaters and Available on VOD and Digital HD (Click Here to Purchase a Copy)
• WRITTEN BY: Christopher Monfette
• DIRECTED BY: Darren Lynn Bousman
• STARRING: Jessica Lowndes, Joe Anderson, Dayton Callie
-Reviewed by Daniel XIII
ABATTOIR kicks off with Julia, a young investigative reporter, having a rather shit day due to her sister (and her family) being all murdered up. While that is horrible and all; the real kicker comes once someone purchases her sister’s house and literally cuts the scene of the crime right out of the structure. Well, being all reporterly, Julia dives head first into this mystery only to discover that the same weird occurrence has been taking place with many a homicide hacienda. Before long, all clues point toward a small New England town and an enigmatic madman named (outrageously enough) Jebediah Crone, a more homespun version of Rasputin, with a sinister, supernatural secret.
To start off with a few positives; the concept of ABATTOIR is pretty damn unique. I really enjoyed the “murder room collection” aspect, and their is a fair amount of preternatural goings-on, in particular in the film’s rather awesome final third (seriously, it’s really, really, cool), to keep this fright fan entertained. Also of note is the fantastic performance of Dayton Callie as Crone; he’s creepy, engaging, and infinitely watchable, and the moody cinematography on display that gives the flick a nice SEVEN meets SILENT HILL vibe. Unfortunately, among these strong points there are some elements at play that really keep this one from being a horror biz essential.
As stated above; the set-up and final act of this flick are aces…too bad this thing drags such a major amount of ass in the middle. The story does advance, but my lord does it take way too long. At over 90 minutes, ABATTOIR seems padded as a bra on prom night. This is a real shame as some editing could have made this a tight flick and would increase it’s re-watchability. Adding to the negative column; director Darren Lynn Bousman dresses Julia like a character from a film noir, which is ultra-distracting and seems tacked onto the whole affair; it’s as if he wanted this to be a period piece, but could only afford one character to dress the part (and rent one vintage car). And while we are speaking of Julia, the actress that plays her, Jessica Lowndes, phones in a performance that is oft-times as wooden as the structures she investigates. I’m not sure if she was just out of her element as an actress here, or was just not invested.
With all of that being said, I would recommend you check out ABATTOIR. Within the bloat is a damn fine (and original) fright flick with some strong performances, a great look, and a fantastic third act…a real shame some editing and a stronger lead weren’t on hand to give us a new creepy classic. In the words of that great poet Maxwell Smart; “Missed it by that much.”…and in the words of the even greater poet Daniel XIII; “Fuck it, Callie’s performance and that ending are so awesome you’re getting four skulls anyway!”