Monday, August 1, 2016

Fantasia '16 Film Review - Abattoir

Starting out as a graphic novel co-penned by director Darren Lynn Bousman Abattoir attempts to bring a 40's film noir investigation feel to a modern horror story. Someone is going around buying up homes where murders have taken place. Real estate agents are happy to sell, as these home are hard to move on the market. However the buyer does not keep the home but instead rips out the room where the crime occurred then flips the home. When one of these instances touches investigative real estate reporter Julia a plucky and stubborn Jessica Lowndes directly, she decides to do some research. Her investigation leads to the buyer Jebediah Crone (Dayton Callie) who's connected to her home town of New English that Julia left when she was very young.

Julia embodies the golden age style of the production. Her car is a Ford Fury, she uses corded phone at home and her hairstyle is a cross between Lauren Bacall and Rosalind Russell.  Her banter with her Editor at the paper synchs it as the exchanges could be lines straight from the film His Girl Friday. 

Bouseman's narrative begins to show cracks when the action shifts to Julia's hometown of New English. Police detective Grady (Joe Anderson) follows her there where the pair encounter townsfolk that want them to leave immediately. The secretive small town community vibe is not original and has been presented better in the past.

Cinematographer Michael Fimognari's  helps to set the look and tone of the piece. His lens is particularly effective in the pivotal third act lighting and showing the new locations of the collected rooms along with the ultimate project of Jebediah Crone.

Abattoir attempts to be part film noir, part mystery and a horror period piece. The results are a jumbled project at best that revisits old territory. The final creation featuring the spirits from the stolen rooms has the feel of an amusement fun house where the same jump scares repeat over and over. It has some suspense filled scenes in the opening third and hits the mark on its look and feel but ultimately it's not a film that I can recommend.

* 1/2  Out of 4.

Abattoir | Darren Lynn Bousman | U.S.A. | 2016 | 98 Minutes.

Tags: 40's, Nostalgic, Mystery, Horror, Film Noir, Reporter, Real Estate, Smalltown, Secrets, Pact.

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