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Common’s Doing Its Monsters the Proper Method

Simply earlier than the weekend, Common lastly pulled again the curtain on its cryptic horror film from filmmaking duo Radio Silence. The ensuing movie is Abigail, which sees Melissa Barrera and Dan Stevens headline a workforce of kidnappers who snatch up a child to carry her for ransom. The twist? The titular Abigail, performed by Alisha Weir, is definitely a vampire, and now they’re all utterly screwed.

Making the monster a 12-year-old woman is a neat little twist, and the movie appears to understand how a lot enjoyable it may have with this premise. It’s not daily {that a} child in a horror film will get to let free and be just a little freak whose murderous tendencies are a characteristic somewhat than a bug. She dances with a headless corpse at one level and clearly enjoys the chance to mess with these folks utilizing her to make a fast buck. And it’s enjoyable to see the criminals instantly perceive they’ll need to kill a child if it means they get to outlive the evening. Not each film can have Dan Stevens shoot a 12-year-old within the head, however this one does, and makes no apologies for it.

Abigail follows 2020’s The Invisible Man and final 12 months’s Renfield and The Last Voyage of the Demeter, all fashionable spins on iconic monsters Common held semi-dominion over with its Common Monsters collection. After the discharge and speedy collapse of its Darkish Universe try with the 2017 Mummy reboot, Common put the Monsters to mattress for a couple of years. Then got here Leigh Whannell’s Invisible Man reboot, which determined to replace the property by centering it on an abuse survivor whose ex was stalking her with a elaborate tech go well with. That angle gave a significantly darker edge to the “monster” a part of the Common branding and in flip made it all of the extra satisfying when he finally obtained what was coming to him.

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Picture: Common

Conversely, Demeter isn’t fashionable, and is in actual fact primarily based straight on a chapter from Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel. Nevertheless it’s taking part in in an identical house of getting enjoyable with a longtime horror character. Its Dracula is a petty jerk taking his time going by way of the crew of the titular ship. He’s obtained no qualms about chowing down on children, and he clearly enjoys getting the prospect to harass Corey Hawkins’ lone surviving character in potential sequels. It’s a disgrace these will won’t ever come, as a result of Dracula skulking round in London would’ve supplied ample alternative to play up the pettier features of the character directed primarily at Hawkins within the climax. And whereas I’ve but to see Renfield, it was exhausting to not know that it was a automobile for Nicholas Cage to ham it up as Drac, but additionally study the character by way of the eyes of his long-suffering manservant, who lastly decides that he needs to try to have an existence exterior of his grasp.

The shortage of franchise obligations have given Common a brand new lease on life with these characters. As an alternative, the strategy appears to be just like the way it and Blumhouse deal with issues like M3GAN and Halloween: make them scary, or i in Renfield’s case, attempt to make them enjoyable. Whereas Common will surely like a few of these to have a sequel or two, the studio’s not breaking its again attempting to drive that into taking place. And that’s in the end the way it must be: Demeter underperformed, however that didn’t impression something, and it’s remembered as a stable flick that deserved extra eyes on it. It didn’t hit M3GAN levels of virality, however its standing because the “Dracula on a Boat” film helped it stand out from different incarnations of the character which were round within the final decade.

With luck, Abigail gained’t attempt to set up itself as being in the identical world as Whannell’s upcoming Wolf Man reboot or a brand new Invisible particular person. It seems to be prefer it’s capable of stand by itself two vampiric toes with out teasing any future visitor stars. And actually, may they actually even match the identical gonzo power as a preteen doing pirouettes earlier than she bites off somebody’s throat?

Abigail releases in theaters on April 19.

Need extra io9 information? Take a look at when to anticipate the newest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s subsequent for the DC Universe on film and TV, and every little thing it’s good to find out about the way forward for Doctor Who.

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