Abominable (2006)

Abominable (2006)

We’ve hunted it for decades… But now, its decided to hunt us.

Preston Rogers lost his wife in a mountain climbing accident six months ago and has been confined to a wheelchair since. He and his nurse, Otis, head to a mountain cabin for some peace, quiet and relaxation. What they don’t know is that the surrounding woods are home to a giant sasquatch, intent on murdering anything that stands in it’s path. Will they make it out alive or will the monster target the quintet of nubile co-eds who have just moved into a neighbouring cabin?

 

There are a few horror sub-genres that I’d love to see a bit more of an effort made with. Things like Nazi zombies are just too good to throw away on a trickle of films. You can add the Abominable Snowman/Bigfoot/Sasquatch to that list. There have been too few horror films devoted to one of the greatest unexplained mysteries of our time and it’s an idea that is just begging to be done right. Yes there’ve been a few efforts over the years. The lame Snowbeast or more recent efforts like Sasquatch have failed to deliver the goods. So with Bigfoot being as popular as ever (I count around four or five horror films devoted to the big hairy guys since 2002), it was about time that someone finally got it right. And that man is Ryan Schifrin. The film? Well it’s Abominable!

Basically running like a slasher film with a big hairy killer as opposed to a masked killer, Abominable sets out its stall early on with a great opening sequence. Atmospheric, pretty scary and containing just a small taste of the gore to come, the creature stalks a couple on their remote farm. Crunching footsteps break the snow in the darkness and a large, hulking shadow emerges towards the couple. It’s pretty tense stuff and the film continues to deliver the chills later on too. The creature is confined to fleeting glimpses or growling noises in the distance for a lot of the film and, like Jaws, this works brilliantly. You get the impression that the characters are always being watched from the woods and to prove it, there is a red pair of eyes peering through the trees in a couple of scenes. When it is finally revealed in the third act, it’s just a very big man in a hairy suit with an animatronic head. Good old fashioned costumes are a way better match for films like this than CGI effects. His face looks a little bit silly but he’s got a nasty pair of teeth and his strength is second to none, as felt first hand by a co-ed unlucky to get stomped on.

I’ll get to the gore in a moment but let’s just say that this beast is a pretty dab hand at offing teenagers. Jason Vorhees would be proud. He snaps people in two by dragging them through windows, breaks through floors to drag people to their doom and, in the best gore moment of the film, he bites people’s faces’ off! All of these are shown in pretty gruesome ways, particularly the face-biting which had me jumping up and down like the horror fan boy I am.

Getting back to the overall film though, it’s not just an exercise in gore and mayhem. It’s actually a very engaging piece. The film revolves around the character of Preston. Confined to the wheelchair, we see everything that he sees and very little else. Just like Mimic 3: Sentinel, which I recently had the displeasure of watching, the film is slightly voyeuristic and uses the Rear Window mode of storytelling as best as it can. However this one knows when it needs to break free of Preston’s watchful eye and gives us plenty of other scenes to which he has no sight or knowledge of. It’s a good way of building tension. He knows there’s something out there stalking the girls. We know there’s something there too because we see what he sees. But because the film grounds itself in his viewpoint and confines itself to his cabin, there’s no way of communicating this with anyone else – until it’s too late. Perhaps the film gets bogged down too much with his character but it does what it needs to do.

Matt McCoy plays the role well and comes off as a sympathetic and likeable guy. Haley Joel has little to do other than be the ‘final girl’ who looks hot and screams a lot. There are also cameos in here from horror vets like Jeffrey Combs and Dee Wallace-Stone and…..Lance Henriksen no less. I always hammer the guy for starring in bad horror films but this is a decent effort and he looks like he’s actually enjoying himself in a brief role as a hunter who doesn’t believe the stories in Bigfoot until it’s too late. This is Henriksen’s second Bigfoot film in the last couple of years and he’s also got another one coming out soon called Sasquatch Mountain. Does this guy have a monopoly on Bigfoot films or something?

 

Abominable is the greatest Bigfoot film ever and, although it’s a weak field of competition, it still sits firmly on the top of the pedestal. In fact it’s still way better than 90% of the other horror output I’ve seen recently. It pushes all of the right buttons for a low budget effort – solid writing, great direction, atmospheric, gory and above all entertaining.  It seems like everyone was having fun making it and it shows in the end product – a fun horror film about Bigfoot.

 

 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 

 

 

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