Abominable Blu-ray Review
Written by Robert Gold
Blu-ray released by MVD Rewind Collection
Written and directed by Ryan Schifrin
2006, 94 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on June 12th, 2018
Matt McCoy as Preston Rogers
Haley Joel as Amanda
Lance Henriksen as Ziegler
Jeffrey Combs as Clerk
Paul Gleason as Sheriff Halderman
Rex Linn as Farmer Hoss
Dee Wallace Stone as Ethel Hoss
Tiffany Shepis as Tracy
Karin Anna Cheung as C.J.
Christien Tinsley as Otis
Preston Rogers returns to his home for the first time in six months since a tragic fall killed his wife and left him without the use of his legs. With the help of a caregiver named Otis, Preston faces his demons and tries to put his life back together. Unfortunately, he is not alone. A group of attractive young ladies moves in next door to party, but one of them is soon abducted into the woods. Preston is pretty sure he sees a monster outside their house and tries to warn them to call the police. Nobody believes his efforts until it is too late and the creature returns. He tries to save the girls but is unable to do so from his wheelchair. Will the hungry beast kill all of them or can Preston figure out a way to save the day?
Writer/ director Ryan Schifrin (Tales of Halloween) has come up with an entertaining new spin on the classic Bigfoot story. By mixing in a generous helping of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, he adds a good deal of suspense into the subgenre. Schifrin’s script is entertaining and he keeps things moving at a decent clip as our hero continues to try to find ways to alert people to imminent danger. The monster kills two people and is at their door before the girls know anything is amiss. Once in the thick of things, the action is relentless. With strong performances, terrific practical make-up effects and a cool-looking creature, we are given a fun little monster movie that really delivers. Another coup for the picture is the score written by the director’s father, the legendary Lalo Schifrin (The Amityville Horror). The music builds a lot of the activity and generates tension to a satisfying breaking point. Cinematographer Neal Fredericks (The Blair Witch Project) creates a gorgeous picture filled with atmosphere making the movie look like a bigger production than it is.
Matt McCoy (Fraternity Vacation) stars as Preston Rogers, our paraplegic hero. He is in almost every scene and many of these are solo performances. His frustration is palpable as everyone around him dismisses his efforts. Once he is paired with Haley Joel (Crash Landing) the two share a great onscreen chemistry. Her character Amanda really comes to life in the final act and shines in her attempts to avoid the monster. The other standout cast member is genre favorite Tiffany Shepis (Blood Oath), who stars as Tracy, the strong woman who takes the situation seriously. She provides a bit of gratuitous nudity for the film and proves herself a fearless performer too. Preston’s caregiver/ rival Otis is played by Christien Tinsley, who also serves as the movie’s creature effects coordinator. He’s not a bad actor and his production work is first-rate.
Abominable offers a strong supporting cast of familiar genre faces, including the incredible Lance Henriksen (Pumpkinhead) as the creature-hunting Ziegler. He gives a good speech and is allowed to try to save the girl, but the role is little more than an extended cameo. Joining him on this adventure is Jeffrey Combs (From Beyond) as a clerk with a chain-smoking habit despite being connected to an oxygen tank. Combs disappears into this redneck character and gives a fun performance that allows him to play against type. The late Paul Gleason (The Breakfast Club) delivers another hard-ass role as the skeptical Sheriff Halderman. It’s a character type he perfected and is always welcome to see. Rex Linn (Night Game) plays Farmer Hoss, a man whose animals are being attacked by the monster and Dee Wallace Stone (The Howling) plays his sympathetic wife during the film’s introductory scene.
Ryan Schifrin’s Abominable is pretty cool and has a lot of production value and a solid script. The decision to have the monster played by a man in a suit instead of a CGI creation is one of the best things that could happen to a film like this. The suit looks good and the gore is a treat once you get to the killings. Abominable snowman movies are not that plentiful and Bigfoot tales are usually goofy, but Schifrin plays it straight and really delivers. The picture premiered on the SyFy channel in 2006 and went straight to DVD afterward. It soon went out of print and despite the occasional screening on late night cable, has widely been unseen over the last decade. This new Blu-ray release offers the movie a second chance at the market and hopefully viewers will eat it up. Watch it with a group of friends and prepare to have a blast.
Video and Audio:
MVD Rewind has given this movie a full 2K restoration of the original 35mm film elements and the results are quite pleasing. Presented in the native 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the picture receives a new transfer that includes richer colors and deeper blacks than were found on the 2006 DVD. The movie featuring the original transfer has been included for purists as a bonus feature on this disc.
Audio options include both a DTS-HD MA 5.1 and DTS-HD MA 2.0 tracks, although the expanded mix is a bit more aggressive and the music cues are a little fuller. Dialogue levels are well-balanced and never distorted.
The disc begins with a 2018 intro from director Ryan Schifrin in which he explains how Abominable came to Blu-ray and discusses the new and improved transfer. He goes through the differences between the 2006 release and this new package and reveals the subtle upgrade to the digital effects.
An audio commentary by Schifrin and actor Matt McCoy with a special appearance by Jeffrey Combs is thoughtful and entertaining. Schifrin has the most to say and covers a lot of ground in this conversational track. McCoy shares production tales from what it was like in front of the camera and acting opposite a guy in a monster suit. Combs is only on hand for his few scenes, but is a welcome addition to the discussion.
The featurette Back to Genre (37 minutes) gives viewers a look at the making of the movie and includes interviews with the majority of the cast. There’s plenty of behind-the-scenes footage on display and it looks like the production was a fun one.
A collection of inconsequential deleted and extended scenes (6 minutes) offer a look at some of the material cut for pacing.
Outtakes and bloopers (4 minutes) provide a standard bit of fun and levity.
Director Ryan Schifrin’s USC student film Shadows (8 minutes) presents an early work that displays his keen storytelling ability.
The short film No Rest for the Wicked: A Basil & Moebius Adventure (16 minutes), starring Ray Park, Zachary Levi, Malcolm McDowell and Kane Hodder is also included as a bonus item for devotees.
The original 2006 version of Abominable is here for fans of the DVD variety. The edit is the same, but there are minor differences in the visual effects, primarily the creature’s eyes.
A poster and stills gallery provides a slideshow presentation of several production stills and behind-the-scenes images. Also on hand is a gallery of storyboard artwork.
Two trailers provide a look at the marketing.
Additional previews for titles available from the MVD Rewind Collection are also included.
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