Cinema Review: Abattoir | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, June 16th, 2021  


Studio: Momentum Pictures
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman

Dec 12, 2016 Web Exclusive
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Reporter Julia Talben (Jessica Lowndes) gets the worst news imaginable when her sister’s family is viciously murdered in their home one night. In the days after the slaughter, Julia enlists Detective Declan Grady (Joe Anderson), her former lover, to help her investigate the motive for the slayings. However, the mystery intensifies when they return to the scene of the crime, only to discover that someone has already purchased the late family’s house and physically removed the bedroom in which the killings took place from the building. As Julia and Declan tread deeper and deeper into the mystery, they discover countless other instances of murder scenes being stolen from the buildings that housed them.

Abattoir, from director Darren Lynn Bousman and writer Christopher Monfette, hopes to scare audiences while answering the (obvious) questions: who is taking these rooms, and what are they doing with them? (Maybe a better question is, how can someone buy crime scenes and physically remove parts of them so quickly, but the movie glosses over that, so we will, too.) The premise is, well, ‘unique’ is a fair descriptor. It’s certainly a different take on the bloody/slightly-supernatural horror sub-genre. And rookie writer Monfette’s script is entertaining, at times a little showy, and yet not-quite-as-smart-as-it-thinks-it-is, all in a campy sort of way. Lowndes and Anderson aren’t likely to win any acting awards from their portrayals of the sleuthing duo, but they’re far more capable of carrying a feature than so many lower budget horror film stars. By the end credits, the creative team has provided as much of an answer as one could hope for from a setup like this, but the film fails to deliver any lasting impact or frights.

No stranger to the horror genre—he directed three of the first four Saw flicks (hint, not the first), as well as a handful of Devil’s Carnival installments—Bousman has the chops, or at least the resume, to turn out jump-inducing midnight fodder. For the entirety of Abattoir’s 100-or-so minutes, however, it just feels like both he and Monfette are trying a bit too hard—too hard to engender that scare, too hard propel the mystery, too hard to show how skilled they are. They don’t trust in the story enough to carry its own weight (perhaps for good reason), and so their hands can be felt on virtually every scene. Abattoir has some interesting, albeit perhaps unwieldy ideas that never quite congeal into a gripping screamer.

Author rating: 4.5/10

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