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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Monster > Comedy > Abominable (2005)

Abominable (2005)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Film: C



If Ryan Schifrin’s name looks familiar, it is because he is cinema royalty.  But more on that later.  Making his debut with his first feature Abominable (2005) about a monster on the loose mixed with a bit of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954) is way too loose for his own good and when we see Schifrin explaining this in a bonus interview; it proves once again that Film 101 basics are the worst reason to make a feature.


Nevertheless, he did secure Lance Henriksen, Jeffrey Combs, Dee Wallace Stone, Phil Morris, Paul Gleason and Matt McCoy for his cast.  However, his script is just too silly and the way it tries to utilize a wheelchair-bound mountain climber (McCoy) as a latter day Jimmy Stewart is a mess.  Schifrin had many of the elements to make this work, but every time he goes for Hitchcock, he can forget it.  De Palma revisited this material best and even masters like Dario Argento (see Do You Like Hitchcock? elsewhere on this site) have bombed trying.


If only the ambitions matched the script, but the number one mistake Schifrin makes is that there were never explicit supernatural forces or monster beings in Hitchcock films and he not only never fixes this, acknowledges this or tries to make it work, he is doomed no matter what because the two are contradictory things.  The result is an interesting failure genre fans should see and the rest should skip.  Ryan Schifrin has potential, but he needs to get more serious next time, no matter what he makes, because the comedy does not cut it.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 is surprisingly soft, with detail issues, image smearing and color limits not intended by the late Neal L. Fredericks.  He died in a car accident just after finishing work on this and Brian De Palma’s disappointing The Black Dahlia (2006) as he was just learning how to really shoot films.  He had shot the obnoxious Blair Witch Project, but the more he worked, the less shaky he became.


The Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 mixes have the trouble of dialogue not being recorded as well as it should have been and limited surrounds in both cases.  Of course, the highlight is the score by Schifrin’s legendary composer/conductor/father Lalo Schifrin, who is best known for his thrillers.  He has hardly ever done music for monster or supernatural films, with The Manitou (1978); a notorious bomb for too many reasons to go into here.  It is a highlight here, but cannot save the film form being average.


Extras include a poster/stills gallery, DVD-ROM accessible screenplay, storyboard gallery, outtakes/bloopers reel, trailers, deleted/extended scenes, director’s commentary with actors McCoy and Combs joining in, the Back To Genre making of featurette and impressive Schifrin short student film Shadows that should have been more of the model for the film here.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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