Hey look, it’s Rear Window meets Boggy Creek!
Abominable is the story of Preston Rogers, a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair after a terrible climbing accident that killed his wife. You know, like in Cliffhanger or something. Maybe you shouldn’t have tried climbing something called Suicide Rock, but what do I know? I’m not big on heights. Anyway, Preston has some serious PTSD as a result of his accident, so his nurse Otis takes him back to his mountain cabin to try and recover via some kind of immersion therapy. Oh, and a bunch of lady college students show up on vacation next door, which pretty much guarantees that terrible shit is gonna go down. Here’s the deal, fellas: you see a bunch of gorgeous women taking a trip to the woods, you run the other way. I don’t care how oversexed they are., nobody survives a ladies vacation to the woods.
But back to the story at hand. Preston sees something in the woods, because of course he does, but since he’s stuck in his house using binoculars, everyone thinks he’s a pervert, because of course they do. Then a hairy dude bigger than Bigfoot shows up and murders people by breaking and eating them, because of course it does. Meanwhile, the cops do nothing since they figure it’s all a prank, because of course they do. And a bunch of hunters get killed in the woods, because…I think you see where this is going.
It’s the hunters going after the creature that really gives this movie a horror pedigree. Look, Preston isn’t bad, nor is the one girl who you know will survive because she’s nice and smiles at Preston at the start, Amanda. But the hunters are the likes of Lance Henriksen and Jeffery Combs. They’re freaking horror royalty. Add in Paul Gleason as the glib sheriff, and you’ve got a recipe for success here from a stacked bench. Too bad they won’t live, but then again, who does?
Unfortunately, despite the great supporting cast, something about Abominable never quite clicks the way I want it to. Preston proves he’s worth a damn when he reveals he knows about how to hunt and set up booby traps, but Amanda and her friends are just dumb to the point of frustration. Well, I don’t really want to put Amanda in the same space, but the other ladies get killed for reasons. Otis also gets killed, but Otis’ death is considerably more bad ass despite him having come across as a total douche for most of the film. He goes after Bigfoot with an ax and gets his face bitten off. Like literally. In one bite. It’s a great way for a character to go out, and I gotta say, Otis, my man, well played.
Look, the Rear Window setup of having a guy confined to a wheelchair watch some crazy monster attacking folks and not being able to get anyone to believe him because of their bias isn’t bad, but it doesn’t manage to build much suspense for me. This might be because I find many characters dumb, or it could be that I just don’t see Harry wiping out the Hendersons like that, though to the movie’s credit, the sasquatch here does kick some serious ass and looks big enough to do it too. I just don’t like how they had to go with CG eyes for it. That just looks bad, and it broke me out of whatever suspense was building because I ended up laughing. It’s cheap.
And I think I just nailed my problem with the movie. Something about it feels cheap, and not in a way I can get behind. Maybe it’s that mid-2000s sheen in films that could screw with how a movie looked in a way that made it less moody and more goofy. I guess that’s gotta be it, because there’s a lot I want to like about Abominable and just don’t.