ABOMINABLE (2020) Film Review!
Reviewed by Michael Miller
Let me ask you something: When you hear the word “Bigfoot” or “Sasquatch”, what image typically pops into your head?
For me, I immediately think of Harry, the loveable vegetarian, hater of topical antiseptics, part-time police siren and lover of The Addams Family, Sasquatch from 1987’s Harry and the Hendersons.
Now, let me ask you something else: When you hear the word “Abominable Snowman” or “Yeti”, what comes to mind?
Go ahead, I’ll give you a minute.
That’s ok, I typically have the same problem and the reason for this is that there’s not much out there in the way of pop culture for the poor Yeti. There’s a big list of Bigfoot/Sasquatch/Yeti movies but as I searched for Yeti specific films, I discovered that THIS creature hasn’t had the love that Bigfoot has had. Now, I know that here in the last couple of years, there’s been at least 2 animated films based on the Yeti: 2019’s Abominable (not the one I’m reviewing) and 2018’s Small Foot. I’m also aware that there’s the 1957 classic The Abominable Snowman, starring Forrest Tucker and Peter Cushing. Oh, and we can’t forget the creature’s, or creatures to be more exact, appearance in 2008’s The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor as well as 2001’s Monsters, Inc.
You can imagine my excitement, then, when I realized I’d be reviewing the newest film about the Yeti; a horror film at that! I grabbed my Pepsi, got comfortable in the old easy chair and prepared myself for a good old fashioned, hopefully gory, monster movie…Abominable, directed by Jamaal Burden!
That initial excitement I had quickly dissipated as I watched what was playing out on my TV. I REALLY wanted to like this movie. With any low budget or no budget horror movie, I’m very prepared for ‘goofs’, technical issues, poor SPFX…it’s expected and part of the charm of an independent, low budget feature. Sometimes, though, the ‘goofs’ can be so prevalent that one struggles to find anything redeeming about a film. Such is the case with Abominable.
Abominable tells the story of a group of researchers searching for a mysterious, extremely rare blue plant that can only be found in a particular part of the Himalayan mountains. However, this rare blue plant is being protected by…you guessed it…a Yeti! As the story unfolds, we discover that the group consists of “Doctor” (?) Helen (Amy Gordon), a “Navy Seal” (?), Sarah (Katrina Mattson), a “Special Forces” (?), Bob as well as “Tech” guy and “One Shot, One Kill” guy.
You might be asking yourself, “Hmmm. Why was he specific about 3 members of the group but not the others?”
You also might be asking yourself, “Hmmm. Why has he put their occupations in quotes?”
That’s because there was so little character development and such ludicrous methods of individualizing each character by their JOBS that it’s difficult for me to remember what these characters did in the film other THAN remembering the patches on their coats!
Let me elucidate:
Dr. Helen has a patch on her coat that indicates she’s in the medical profession. Sarah has a patch on her coat denoting she’s a Navy Seal. Bob has a patch on his coat that clearly indicates he’s in Special Forces because that’s what the patch says, “Special Forces”! I can’t remember One Shot, One Kill’s name because I can only remember the patch on his coat that literally says, “One Shot, One Kill’. Our Tech guy doesn’t have a patch on his coat denoting his profession. Instead, it’s made VERY clear near the very beginning that he’s the one who knows his way around a computer!
Let’s start with the highlights…all two of them. The gore effects were rather impressive considering the rest of the film. Joe Castro’s effects work (especially with two specific death scenes) were top-notch for such a low budget film. Castro is also credited with having designed the Yeti costume which at times looked very much like a man in a rubber suit and in close-ups you can clearly see it’s a mask the performer is wearing. However, for what the movie ultimately turned out to be, the suit wasn’t half bad.
Moving on to what I disliked about the film:
As I’ve mentioned before, the patches on the coats were laughable and there were a couple of moments when two of the characters were discussing their personal reasons for searching for the blue flower. The discussion didn’t flow smoothly, it felt as if they were both just stopping what they were doing to explain themselves to each other…and to the audience. Our Navy Seal, Sarah (Katrina Mattson) seemed to be channeling her inner Mary Elizabeth Winstead from 2011’s The Thing prequel. Each character made ridiculous decisions and acted in a completely unrealistic way for what that character needed. For instance, if three members of the group were part of some branch of the military, they all acted as if they’ve either never handled a firearm before or were just randomly shooting at whatever.
There were so many times throughout the film that the cameraman didn’t seem to know what he was supposed to be filming. The character’s face? Their elbow? Their feet? The audio wasn’t too bad unless the characters were in a building and then the sound became so muffled that you could barely understand what they were saying. The lighting was reprehensible and became so distracting, it was difficult to follow what was going on. At times it appeared bright and sunny outside, then cloudy, then it was supposed to be dark enough to need a flashlight, but it clearly appeared to just be a cloudy day.
Characters were typing, and shooting, with big bulky winter gloves. There were a few scenes that felt as if the director needed to kill some time such as plugging a cord into a computer…THE EXTENDED EDITION! There was one scene where a character was trying to pinpoint their exact location on a computer but what appeared on screen looked like any standard wallpaper that’s pre-installed.
The film had a surprisingly short run-time of 72 minutes. Why is that surprising? Because it felt like hours by the time I finished the film. To sum everything up, I’ll say that the film was aptly named.
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