If you go down to the woods today, you’ll find… a ton of people with no character development or solid reason for being there. Oh, and a yeti I guess?
If you take the film apart and look at it as individual shots, there is some clear talent within the direction. A wide range of angles, and different shot types are utilised to try and mix up what was clearly a small location to ensure it instead feels like a vast landscape. Director Jamaal Burden clearly has a love of gore, as the scenes where the yeti attacks his prey are gruesome, sometimes to their detriment, as less is often more, and by going so heavily in to the detail, it allows the audience to see the strings of the puppets as such.
It is unfortunate then that the direction is such a mess - shots flick between day and night time, with wild inconsistencies of lighting and angle. I imagine this was down to time constraints rather than poor directing, but it throws off the whole film.
Ok, there is a lot of plot. There’s a yeti stalking the forest, killing people. A group of scientists come to the base - but it is almost impossible to figure out why. They seem to be established as scientists, but then half of them are ex army, they appear to have never met each other before, they don’t seem to know anything about their pasts, or the real reason they are out there. Half of them are trying to kill each other? It’s all very confusing and poorly assembled. It seems like a case of wanting to make a creature feature, but being scared that has already been done, so adding 4 or 5 other random plot points on top, but none of them make any sense.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
There is no character development, and I would be hard pushed to even tell you a list of the people. There’s army woman 1 who goes in to the forest with maybe army man 1 and then maybe scientist maybe army woman 2 who stays at the base but then also goes in to the forest? Honestly, why a small creature feature, lost in the woods isolation film needed that many characters I do not know. People were being killed left and right by the yeti, but I had idea who they were or if I was meant to care.
There’s also a plot twist with one of the characters, except he’s so badly written that it doesn’t seem shocking at all, as we didn’t know anything about him in the first place to now be shocked when it turned out to be the complete opposite.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Some fairly generic music that didn’t really add to the tension and was fairly over-used.
The gory face mutilation, body ripping bits are pretty impressive, and at times the yeti himself looks great. As with most great creature features - the less you see of the beast (Jaws taught us this best) the better the scare and the tension. Unfortunately Abominable does not live by this rule, and shows us far to much of the Yeti, making it quite clear it was just a man in a suit and removing most of the tension.
I feel like there was a good film somewhere in Abominable, but it’s either a case of too many voices trying to add things in, or not enough strong voices telling people what didn’t work. How a feature film can be released on any platform, where in a 10 second sequence the frames change from day night twilight night day night as quickly I do not understand. Weather and timing can have a terrible effect on location shoots, but there is no excuse for the editor and director to have let some of the wild continuity errors remain in the film.