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Watch the Trailer for Abigail
For months, Universal Pictures has had a movie on their list of upcoming films known only as some variation of “Untitled Monster Thriller.” Well, we now know the title, Abigail, and we’ve also been treated to the movie’s first trailer. Check it out:
The Cast and Crew of Abigail
Abigail is directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, members of the filmmaking collective Radio Silence, and the directors of Scream (2022), Scream VI (2023), and Ready or Not (2019). Judging by the trailer, Abigail looks like it could tap into the greatness of Ready or Not. Both movies are set within a mansion, and both feature a “one versus many” fight for survival. Single-location horror movies can be incredibly fun, and Abigail looks like it will make the most of its setting. It also looks like it has the same dark humor and bloody violence Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett’s previous films.
The writers for Abigail are Guy Busick and Stephen Shields. Busick previously worked with Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett as a cowriter on Scream (2022), Scream VI, and Ready or Not. Shields previously cowrote Hunted (2020), and he cowrote The Hole in the Ground (2019) with director Lee Cronin.
In the trailer we see that Abigail stars Melissa Barrera (Scream VI), Kathryn Newton (Freaky), Dan Stevens (The Rental), Kevin Durand (The Strain), William Catlett (The Devil You Know), and Angus Cloud (Euphoria) as a group of kidnappers who are tasked with watching the kidnapped Abigail overnight as they await their ransom money. Abigail, played by Alisha Weir, isn’t who she seems to be though. She is a vampire, and the kidnappers end up in a fight for their lives while trapped with the girl inside a mansion.
Abigail Previously Had a Different Title
Warning: This section contains speculation that some people might consider to be potential spoilers.
The fact that Universal didn’t have a title for the movie for months led to a lot of speculation on the internet. Even without a title, calling it a “Universal monster thriller” naturally led many people to believe it would be a new movie focusing on one of the classic Universal Monsters. In fact, The Hollywood Reporter posted an article in April of 2023 which mentions that the movie was going to be titled Dracula’s Daughter at one point. The article describes the same plot seen in the trailer of Abigail in which kidnappers are attacked by their victim. In the description of Dracula’s Daughter, the kidnapping victim is the daughter of Dracula.
It’s entirely possible that the connection to Dracula was written out of the movie and that’s why the title was changed to Abigail, but it’s also possible that the connection to Dracula is still there and the name change was done as a misdirection for audiences. Universal released two very different Dracula movies in 2023, Renfield and The Last Voyage of the Demeter, so it would be interesting to see if they are continuing to do different variations and spin-offs of Dracula.
Dracula’s Daughter is also the title of a 1936 movie from Universal. That movie is a sequel to the 1931 Dracula, and it is about Dracula’s daughter, Countess Marya Zaleska, as she tries to break her vampire curse. The name change could merely be a way of avoiding confusion as to whether or not this new movie is a remake. Abigail doesn’t look to be similar to the 1936 Dracula’s Daughter in any way, so the name change was a good idea.
Takeaways from the Abigail Trailer
One thing you might take away from the trailer for Abigail is the sense that it was at least partly inspired by by the success of Blumhouse’s 2023 movie M3GAN (which was also produced and distributed by Universal). There are definitely some similar elements: a monster that looks like a young girl, a bit of blood, and even dancing. Who could blame them though? M3GAN did very well, and following its lead isn’t the worst idea. And, obviously, the movies themselves don’t look anything alike. It’s just easy to see similarities between the characters themselves. Abigail joins an ever-growing line of villains/killers who look like young girls which also includes Esther from Orphan (2009) and Eli from Let the Right One In (2008).
Also, it’s great to see Melissa Barrera in another horror movie. After being fired from Scream VII late last year, it is going to be an absolute pleasure to support her in all of her future films, especially her upcoming horror films. In addition to Abigail, Melissa is set to star in the romantic horror comedy Your Monster which makes its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 18th, 2024. She will also be in the upcoming horror film The One along with Nicholas Hoult.
As for Abigail, it looks like it will be another highly entertaining movie from Radio Silence. Though it was disappointing when news came out that they’d be stepping away from Scream, in retrospect that was a good thing. Having them back to making original horror is great for horror fans. Abigail looks like a good time, and we can’t wait to watch! Abigail releases in theaters on April 19, 2024.