“Nothing good ever came of this house. I’d leave this place and get as far away as you can,” says the wise, older neighbor Walter (Michael Monteiro) to Katie (Chelsea Jurkiewicz) at the midpoint of Abigail Haunting. Such a line has been said in one way or another in…every…single…movie about ghosts, hauntings, the paranormal, etc., which is just one of the tropes in the film that we’ve seen a million times before. The main difference, which is an interesting one, is that this film takes place outside of Reno, Nevada, in a trailer.
The other thing that makes Abigail Haunting different from every other haunted house movie out there is that most of the film is not really about a ghost. I’m still not sure whether or not this is to its detriment. Katie is on the run from an abusive boyfriend and a criminal act that’s way too big to mention to people who haven’t seen the film. She escapes to her foster mother’s trailer in Prescott, Nevada. Her foster mother, Marge (Brenda Daly), and her house were always strange, but when Katie shows up, it’s stranger than it ever was before. Marge stays seated in front of the television in her nightgown and robe all day and never speaks. Her friend and neighbor Walter delivers her groceries, but otherwise, she interacts with no one.
Katie then reunites with her foster brother, Brian (Austin Collazo), and meets his son, Gavin (Zander Garcia). Brian regularly visits, often with Gavin in tow. In fact, it is Gavin who first interacts with a supernatural force, beckoning to him in the form of a little girl’s whisper which is, as we all know, a beloved trope of all haunting movies. It’s at about the midpoint of the film when Katie starts to see and hear strange things, including Marge coming out of her relative comatose state to tell her to leave the house. When she says this, a night-light with a clown’s face lights up.
“Her foster mother…and her house were always strange, but when Katie shows up, it’s stranger than it ever was before.”
Katie is the first one to see an apparition of this titular ghost, Abigail. The typical ghost movie rules are bent because the occurrence doesn’t happen in the house. It’s a little annoying to me that we don’t see the ghost until the film is almost halfway through, but once you the ghost shows up is when the film finally starts to get a little more entertaining.
Director and co-writer Kelly Schwarze, along with co-writer Charisma Manulat, created a cinematic world that is unique enough to warrant watching, but it still relies too heavily on obvious tropes to push it along. The impressive thing about the film is that you’d never guess how small a budget it was made on. The film’s production values are quite high. The sets and even the special effects are really good. The crew did a great job of creating the framework for the story to take place. The acting is not horrible, as it can be in some indie horror films. The story itself takes a long time to engage the audience, but it’s worth the wait.
Overall, I would say that Abigail Haunting is worth the watch, even though you have to wait for the story to get really interesting (as in the last 30 minutes of the movie). However, I think it’s important to support the indie horror film community, and if you do too, give Abigail Haunting a watch and be patient with it. It eventually delivers.
"…a cinematic world that is unique enough to warrant watching, but it still relies too heavily on obvious tropes..."