Movie Review: ‘Abattoir’
Abattoir is a bit of a twist on the noir murder mystery thriller, and though it stumbles throughout, it’s likely not something you’ve seen before.
Jessica Lowndes stars as leading lady Julia Talben, who appears to have a difficult romantic history with Detective Declan Grady, played by Joe Anderson. I couldn’t figure out throughout the length of the movie if a few characters just had a thing for Forties fashions or if the film was actually not set in present day.
Lowndes’s character favors the looks of the Forties, showing off pinup curls and retro dresses, blouses, and skirts. However, she has a cell phone, and other characters around her seem to dress in styles from present day. Julia also drives a vintage car. And later, the film introduces Lin Shaye’s Allie, who also appears to be stuck in the past. I still haven’t figured it out.
The story follows Julia after a freak incident in which her beloved sister, nephew, and brother-in-law are brutally murdered by a seemingly good guy from their town. The culprit speaks in almost incoherent bursts, and can only reveal that he “had to” do it.
Julia is a real estate reporter for the local newspaper, but is desperate to write about crime. And she finds her own mystery in her sister’s tragic murder. Upon returning to the crime scene, she finds it missing. The entire room in which the murder occurred has been seemingly ripped right out of the house.
So Julia puts her investigative skills to work trying to solve the mystery behind her murder, traveling – despite many warnings – to small town New English. She appears to have grown up there, despite not remembering anything about it.
Her visit to New English, where she makes the questionable choice of staying with Allie, opens a Pandora’s box of old curses, danger, and even more murder. I won’t go into details, so as not to spoil the movie’s ace in the hole, but suffice it to say Julia is not prepared for what she finds.
The ending is the most captivating part of the movie, if not the most confusing. However, the imagery is enough to keep the audience interested. Unfortunately for Abattoir – which, by the way, is a slaughterhouse – it comes at a particularly exceptional time in horror. With great indies like The Witch, It Follows, and The Babadook on the scene, a flawed picture like Abattoir doesn’t really hold up.
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