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View All Abattoir News
All Critics (20)
| Top Critics (4)
| Fresh (7)
| Rotten (13)
If you operate under the belief that you can learn as much, maybe even more, from bad movies as you can from good ones, this one is a master class in what not to do.
The inexplicability of "Abattoir" keeps it engaging for a while, but by the time it hits the one-hour mark without anything even remotely exciting happening, even a horror connoisseur's patience will run thin.
While Bousman's climax is a not terribly original effects-laden haunted house, the house's builder, and his motives, have enough of their own flavor to please a hardened horror fan.
A franchise-aspirational horror opus that takes too long establishing its premise, then peters out in a climactic jumble of scare-free digital effects.
An intelligent and stylish macabre tale straight out of the world of Lovecraft or Poe, Abattoir will keep the grey matter working until the closing moments.
Abattoir has some interesting, albeit perhaps unwieldy ideas that never quite congeal into a gripping screamer.
Ambition is laudable, but sometimes the end result falls short of expectation.
Clearly aimed at those who prefer gratuitous gore to coherent storytelling, this lackluster thriller hints at fresh ideas that aren't realized.
suffers from the whole "first chapter in a franchise no one is asking for" syndrome
There's a reach on the part of Abattoir's makers that exceeds their grasp.
[I]n the end, the screenplay doesn't equal the sum of its parts and the film is unsatisfying.
Abattoir feels like it should still have an "Under Construction" sign warning viewers of the unfinished business to come.
An interesting horror film with an "olde tyme" feel. This is a horror film that hopes to craft a unique story grounded in enough classic horror staples to keep the audience invested, but ultimately comes up a bit short. Abattoir has flashes of brilliance, but does not really deliver.
The lead actors are a bit weak, and detract from the film at times. Dayton Callie and Lin Shaye help counter balance this with more passable performances. The actual plot of the film is utterly crazy, even by a horror film's standard. I think where it unravels a bit is that the story line is not standard enough to be a run of the mill horror fare, and not innovative enough to be a statement piece. The clumsy final act is not really shocking enough. The suspense building in the beginning is a little too weakly done.
The other problem is I don't care about the characters. That is more workable if this is a slasher, but it does not work well for a more cerebral horror film. Even in a slasher it is not ideal.
Abattoir is clearly the work of a director with a masterful knowledge of the genre, but he fails to stitch together a few great bits and pieces in a successful way.
I'm a big fan of Darren Lynn Bousman, absolutely. But he doesn't have a 100% track record, and Abattoir is not a favoured offering of his for me.
There are so many great ideas scattered throughout Abattoir, but unfortunately it lacks a Jebediah Crane to bring them together into a single solid foundation.
Lin Shaye is a horror institution and if it were up to me she would be in every horror movie from this point on. Granted, the fact that she's unable to multiply herself like Michael Keaton in Multiplicity means that this wish of mine is pretty much impossible. And, honestly, I don't really want her to be in every horror movie, there's such a thing as over-saturation after all and I don't ever wanna get sick of seeing Lin Shaye and her talents. This brings me to Darren Lynn Bousman, a horror filmmaker that's actually better than the quality of his films would imply. Actually, I hear The Devil's Carnival films are pretty good and weird, which is why it shames me to say that I haven't watched them. But, other than that, Darren doesn't exactly have the best track record, if we are being honest. And, again, that's not to say anything of his actual talent, because I do believe that he is a talented horror filmmaker with a good eye for visuals, look at this film's third act for proof of that. Now, moving on to this movie. Where can I even begin with this film and what it sets out to do. First things first, I will say that the concept is actually fairly unique and interesting. This guy goes around ripping rooms, where tragedies happened, from their foundation to build their own fucked up, literal, house of horrors. Julia's family was horribly murdered in one of the rooms that was bought up by this strange man. Julia, wanting to know the motives for this senseless act, starts to investigate this and all the clues lead her to this small town, New English. When she's there, she finds out that the town had been brainwashed by this preacher (or something) who had, literally, gone to hell and back. They say that he brought some of hell's secrets with him. He instructs the people in the town to pledge sacrifices to him in order to bring back prosperity to the town. This leads to a school fire that kills every student, of which Julia and her sister were meant to be a part of, but their father managed to get them out of the town before that happened. For the villain of the film to achieve his goal, he needs both Julia and Amanda to die, as they were pledged all those years ago. The problem that I have with the film, however, is that the narrative itself is a bit nonsensical. Perhaps nonsensical isn't the right word, but the narrative isn't exactly inviting. They spend a shitload of time talking in riddles, before you're ever given a clear indication of what exactly this preacher wants to achieve with building this house that brings him one step closer, with each room, to hell and to breaking the barrier between the two. I also felt that the pacing didn't do the films any favor. It just felt longer than it actually was. I watched this in two different sittings, but I felt like this before I shut the movie off the first time. There was just something off about the pacing and I felt that it could have been trimmed down in order to keep the movie from dragging. But the film does give you explanations and motivations for why the preacher would do what he did (in order to bring back his family from hell). He goes about it entirely the wrong way, no fucking shit, but you can understand his reasoning. Some people would do absolutely anything and everything for their loved ones. This is just a more extreme example of that. I don't wanna say that the explanations are just a bit too little, too late, but while there was some satisfaction in getting the answers to these questions, I still wouldn't say that this was a good movie. I'd say that it was average at best, that's all due to the pacing and the story that, seemingly, goes nowhere for the longest time. The acting is fairly solid all things considered. Lin Shaye is tremendous, as always, as is Dayton Callie. Julia Lowndes was better than I expected (fucking gorgeous too), but I don't think she comes close to Lin or Dayton. The third act of the film is tremendous from a visual standpoint as you get to see all of the rooms that the preacher has bought and the tragedies that happened within them. It's a new type of haunted house, that's for fucking sure. It's surreal and twisty, easily the best part of the entire movie. Not to mention the fact that you actually get the answers you want. I don't really have much else to say. The movie has a great concept that it doesn't do much with until the third act, where it goes all out. So, yes, it's a bit of an inconsistent horror movie, to say they least. But, by and large, this as a decent little horror movie. You can do worse and at least you'd be watching something that's fairly unique, all things considered.
What a gorgeously nasty little film. I never doubted Darren Lynn Bousman for a second. The Devil's Carnival, its sequel, and REPO: The Genetic Opera have all been gold, and it's nice seeing Bousman step out and make a serious and hauntingly poetic film. I truly do not understand all the negativity towards it. It's a b-horror film and should be judged as such. Bousman is outlandish and always satirical. Abattoir has incredible plot development, a lucidly fun climax, and a brutal finale that fits the tone of the film perfectly. This is what good horror looks like.
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