Abominable DVD Review

Reviewed by Peter West

DVD released by Anchor Bay Entertainment

Written and directed by Ryan Schifrin
2006, Region 1 (NTSC), 94 minutes, Rated R
DVD released on October 6th, 2006

Starring:
Matt McCoy
Ashley Hartman
Rex Linn
Lance Henriksen
Dee Wallace-Stone
Jeffrey Combs
Paul Gleason
Tiffany Shepis

The Story: (From the Anchor Bay Press Release)

It has been sighted over 42,000 times in 68 countries. It is a creature of myth and legend, but has eluded scientific study and capture. He goes by many names in countries spanning the globe: Yeti, Sasquatch and the infamous Bigfoot! We’ve hunted it for years, vainly searching for positive proof of its existence. But what happens when it decides to hunt us?

Abominable centers on Preston Rogers (McCoy), a paraplegic bound to a wheelchair and haunted by the memories of the mountain climbing accident that took both his mobility and his wife. Newly released from the hospital, he travels with an aide to a remote cabin in the woods, hoping for some relaxation and possibly some psychological closure. Amid the peace and quiet of the forest, Preston begins seeing things, or specially, some thing. When a group of young girls staying at a nearby cabin begin to experience violent – and ultimately lethal -- attacks, Preston witnesses them but cannot find anyone to believe his incredible story. Preston must summon all his courage and determination to battle a monster that no one believes actually exists!

Video:

The press release says "Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1), enhanced for 16x9 TVs" however... I do not find that mentioned anywhere on the DVD packaging. When I played it on a 16x9 TV it appeared to be widescreen, then when I played it on a 4x3 TV it looked full fame... Either way, Abominable was shot on 35mm film and has an excellent pic quality for a low budget film!

Audio:

There's Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 soundtracks on Abominable. The track was composed by Oscar-nominated composer Lalo Schifrin (Mission Impossible, Rush Hour, Dirty Harry), who just happens to be the director's father... The soundtrack was mixed at the Skywalker Ranch, something the good people at THX do for a number of independent films. For a movie of this budget it's outstanding!

Special Features:

There's a wealth of extras on Abominable, starting off with Back to Genre: Making Abominable, an interested featurette on the film. There's a commentary with director Schifrin along with actors McCoy and Combs. Combine that with outtakes and bloopers, deleted scenes, poster and still galleries, storyboards, and the screenplay on DVD-ROM. There's also trailers and a short film from Schifrin's college days at USC called Shadows. Not bad for a low-budget indie!

Conclusion:

Rear Window meets Bigfoot, that's the premise of this very entertaining flick. I was expecting the normal Sci-fi Channel mediocre Saturday evening film from this and I was very surprised to find an intelligent, well written story that combined with a stellar cast really pulls it off. Matt McCoy is excellent as the wheelchair bound hero and Ashley Hartman is great as the suffering heroine. The "name" actors in the film are mostly in short cameos, but they really do justice to the story. I was really impressed by this one!

Reading into some of the things I mentioned earlier, the soundtrack composed by a famous composer, it was mixed at the Skywalker Ranch, the list of "name" actors, director Ryan Schifrin had a lot of advantages most indie directors don't have. Given all of that though, you need talent to write and direct a film and Schifrin certainly does have talent! What he's created is a film that is interesting and at the same time a lot of fun. I expect we'll be seeing a lot more of his work!

For real low budget horror fans there's a shower scene with the one and only Tiffany Shepis who has an amazing death scene. That was worth watching the movie all by itself!

In a genre where there is so much mediocre horror, Abominable stands out as an excellent diversion back into good old low budget horror fun!

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