The “giant creature” subgenre of horror b-movies has never really been my favorite. The stories and plot development are usually pretty standard – the unaware soon-to-be victims + giant creatures + bloody death = The end. I was mildly surprised however, in that “Abominable” was a pretty decent b-horror movie, full of drama and suspense. It was hampered by only a few of the usual b-movie faux-pas, and its good points eventually balanced out the negative ones successfully.
The main storyline of the movie follows actor Matt McCoy, as Preston Rogers, an author who’s wife was killed 6 months earlier in a climbing accident which also resulted in his own legs being paralyzed. Preston was traumatized psychologically by the accident and upon his doctor’s advice, he returns to the cabin where the accident occurred, in an attempt to speed up his emotional healing.
Accompanying Preston, is a miscast male nurse, Otis (Christien Tinsley), who reminded me of an older version of Danny Masterson’s character on “That 70’s Show”. Strangely enough, he comes across not so much as a nurse, but as an unwilling companion, genuinely annoyed by Preston and his insecurities. Otis even goes so far as to spike his own milk with alcohol and chill out on the couch. Not something I would expect a home health nurse to be doing much of. I’m not really sure what his purpose actually was in the movie. Besides being generally apathetic toward Preston, he’s pretty much absent for a large portion of the film because he’s out looking for a store in the backwoods podunk town that carries Preston’s soy milk, which he forgot to pack.
While Otis is out, a bunch of hot young girls show up to spend the weekend in the cabin next door, and Preston, being stuck in a wheelchair, has nothing to do besides spy on them with a pair of binoculars while feeling sorry for himself. During his spying, he sees one of the girls get kidnapped by Big Foot as she’s talking outside on her cell phone. Drama quickly ensues as Preston tries to get messages to the other girls, the police and Otis, but to no avail, as they all believe he’s some psychologically messed up, delusional “peeping Tom”.
The character of Preston was generally likeable throughout the movie. He had an innate nervous creepiness about him which I attributed to a vague resemblance to Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in “Psycho”. This seemed to make it harder to determine if he was really a good guy or not, especially with his spying habit. However, his character seemed rather clueless for an author, and it seemed like he whispered his lines throughout the whole movie ( I guess to avoid being heard by Big Foot?). His lack of energy and overall monotone voice made the extended scenes involving him alone in the cabin even longer than they were.
About 45 minutes into the movie, we get a break from Preston with a separate subplot involving movie icon Lance Henriksen, as one of 3 local men camping in the woods, hoping to find and kill the alleged “Big Foot” creature. This scene, although excellently acted, did not quite mesh with the rest of the movie and seemed to run a bit long, almost to the point where it feels like you’re watching a different movie altogether. We see about 5 minutes of sarcastic macho banter between the woodsy men, that is actually amusing, before Lance’s character, Ziegler Dane, hears a noise and goes running off in the direction of where he thinks Big Foot might be. The scene is almost satirical in that the men are obviously not the “sharpest tools in the shed” and yet they are joking about people that died doing stupid things, a la the “Darwin Awards.” Soon after, we subsequently see Ziegler go running off after Big Foot by himself, into the creature’s cave no less, and becoming the first of the three to earn their own “Darwin Awards” at the hands of Big Foot.
The lighting and effects throughout the entire movie, especially the scenes involving Preston, were successful in helping create a “spooky” atmosphere. At one point, Big Foot knocks down power lines so a lot of the scenes inside Preston’s cabin are eerily lit, with a foggy glow highlighting Preston’s face, much like the spooky flashlight effect often used when people are portrayed telling ghost stories. The scenes toward the end where Preston and the last surviving girl, Amanda (Haley Joel) are trying to escape to the car are especially enhanced by rapid flashes of light in the dark which seem to add to the panicked effect on screen.
Overall, “Abominable” was a smartly directed, tension-filled b-horror movie with fairly good acting. In fact, I was able to take the movie fairly seriously until a point near the end where the viewer is shown a close-up of “Big Foot’s” face. The face on the Big Foot creature was such a ridiculous caricature, that in the most intense escape scene at the end, I couldn’t help but bust out loud laughing because Big Foot looks like Fozzie Bear’s maniac cousin gone wrong. I mean, it seems like a decent effort was put into the rest of the movie but someone didn’t quite understand the meaning behind making a “realistically frightening” creature. In fact, it seemed like they tried to create a brown version of the “Abominable snowman” from the stop-motion animation movie “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” from 1964. On my personal cheese wedge rating scale however, the Big Foot creature added many points to the movie’s cheesiness so it ends up with a total of 3.5 cheese wedges, for pretty good quality and average cheesiness.