Abominable looks familiar, but is that a bad thing?
Horror movies get more leeway than many other genres. They can get away without having a plot, are expected to be formulaic, and can earn universal praise if they are cheesy enough. Abominable meets some of that criteria but never does enough to impress.
Released in 2006, Abominable is about Preston Rogers, a man who has returned to the woods where his wife died and he was left crippled following a mountain climbing accident. Something strange seems to be happening but only Preston appears to notice.
Abominable is content to use the most common tropes of the genre. The entire movie takes place in a secluded cabin in the woods. There is no communication to the area and the cast includes four young women from the city (of course, there is the obligatory shower scene.) Naturally, the women also think Preston is a creep and the cops do not believe him. The movie would make a great drinking game about horror movie staples.
At least Abominable pilfers from great movies. Preston is in a wheelchair for much of the movie and his cabin is across the road from Amanda and her friends. Preston checks on their safety using a pair of binoculars.There are plenty of binocular point of view shots but unfortunately, Grace Kelly never comes around to help save the day.
When a creature feature is this unoriginal, it has to rely on its monster to save the day. At times, Abominable succeeds as the the titular beast looks slightly different than a stereotypical Yeti. In complete shadow, it takes on a wolf-like appearance. This looks great when seen in darkness or through binocular lenses. In better lit shots however, it appears more human and almost looks cute, destroying any chance of fear. Director Ryan Schifrin seemed to know this, slowly revealing the monster through short dark shots.
Abominable does have some great gore effects. The beast is a very violent creature and the deaths are appropriately messy. There is no need for creative or clever kills. The Sasquatch like character just wants to kill and does not have time to think about how.
The acting is never horrible, or even bad. Matt McCoy does fine as the lead with appropriate looks of shock, fear, and relief. Paul Gleason of The Breakfast Club fame has a small role as the skeptical sheriff and shoots off the line of the movie. Lance Henriksen also makes an unnotable appearance. Unfortunately, the blasé performances may have had an unintended consequence. The film’s premise lends itself to outrageous characters but the cast plays it seriously, leading to serviceable performances that no audience will ever remember.
Abominable is a textbook example of a horror movie. You have a final girl, secluded location, a hero who has dealt with personal loss, and an ending that begs a sequel. The acting is fine while the pace keeps the barely there plot moving forward. There is nothing wrong with Abominable, it has just already been done in other places.