Monday, July 7, 2014


Film & Disc Review, Abominable
by Rusty White
reviewed: 2006-10-06

Abominable (2006)
Director(s): Ryan Schifrin
Movie rating: 7/10
DVD rating: 8/10
DVD Release Date: 10/03/2006
Running Time: 95 minutes
Rating: R
Disc Details

Anchor Bay

List Price: $19.98

Running Time: 95 minutes

Special Features:
Widescreen anamorphic format
Chapter selection
Featurette: "Back to genre: Making Abominable"
Audio Commentary with writer/director Ryan Schifrin, Actors Matt McCoy and Jeffrey Combs
Deleted and Extended Scenes
Outtakes and Bloopers
Shadows: Director Ryan Schifrin's USC Student Film
Poster & Still Gallery
Storyboard Gallery
Production notes insert
Screenplay (DVD-ROM)

Video Format:
Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1)

Language Tracks:
English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
English (Dolby Digital 2.0)


Closed Captions:

1-disc Keep Case

There is something to be said for genes. Lalo Schifrin is one of the most talented composers in Hollywood. It would make sense that his offspring would inherit creative genes. If his son Ryan Schifrin's first feature film is any indication, the senior Mr. Schifrin passed on the creative trait. The younger Mr. Schifrin's music is what Bela Lugosi would call the sweet music of the children of the night. Ryan Schifrin's musical notes are screams and growls. I've been a monster movie fan my whole life. Sure, I learned to like other forms of horror films later on, but my first cinematic love was and always will be the Monster Movie. Thanks to Ryan Schifrin's "Abominable" that love is once more fufilled.

"Abominable" shows that not all mythical, or better yet, as yet undiscovered, creatures are friendly. Unlike the family friendly Bigfoot from "Harry and the Henderson" this badass creature has very sharp teeth. Director Schifrin borrows a plot twist from Hitchcock by placing the hero in a wheelchair. He watches through binoculars as his mountain retreat neighbors are picked off one by one.

The film's pacing is just fine. The creature isn't exposed until the proper foundation of suspense is laid. The creature design is impressive. A number of familiar character actors pop up throughout. "Reanimator" star Jeffery Combs is a quirky standout. Lance Henriksen is also funny as a macho hunter. Paul Gleason (in one of his last roles) and Dee Wallace also make appearances.

Matt McCoy (L.A. Confidential) stars as mountain climber Preston Rogers. Preston returns home for the first time since the accident which killed his wife and left him in a wheelchair. The adjoining cabin is being used by five nubile young women including co-star Haley Joel, American Idol contestant Ashley Hartman and scream queen Tiffany Shepis. Ms. Shepis guarantees that the movie also includes boobs as well as blood.

Blood. The movie doesn't rely on gore, but it does include enough of the gruesome stuff to satisfy fans. There is one particular monster attack that results in one of the coolest demises I've ever seen. You will know it when you see it.

Humor is another element in good monster movies. Unfortunately, the main characters do not provide the fun stuff. As a leading man, Matt McCoy is very staid. The good news is that the supporting actors provide the comic relief.

Hollywood is an industry town. In many, many cases multiple family members work and thrive in the town. Nepotism might get one in the door, but a lack of talent will lead to a quick exit. I don't know if Ryan Schifrin's family name got him in the door, but I will say this. Ryan Schifrin's talent behind the camera will keep him in the room for a long time to come.

The Disc
Fun monster movie just in time for Halloween. Great picture and sound. Excellent extras.

Picture Quality: 8/10
Other than a few delineation problems during some of the nighttime scenes in the woods, the transfer is great. The distractions are not enough to detract from your enjoyment of the movie. The flesh tones are great, especially during Tiffany Shepis' shower scene!

Sound Quality: 9/10
The movie benefits greatly from Lalo Schifrin's score. It sounds great. The sound effects likewise. No loss of dialogue.

Easter Eggs:
No Easter Eggs Found on Disc.

Extra Features: 10/10
The DVD includes an excellent "Making Of" featurette. It is par for the course for Anchor Bay. They always seem to have the most interesting and informative documentaries.

New director Ryan Schifrim provides a passionate commentary track. He is joined by star Matt McCoy and cult actor Jeffrey Combs. Horror fans will enjoy the track.

There are several deleted scenes. They belonged on the cutting room floor for pacing purposes. It was nice to see the late Paul Gleason chew the scenery in his deleted scene. The DVD also includes several bloopers and outtakes. Most deal with several attempts to film one scene.

There are several galleries dealing with posters, stills and storyboard art. The film's script is available on the DVD-ROM extra.

Another cool extra is director Ryan Schifrin's 1994 student film "Shadows." It is a Black and White homage to the films of the 1950s. I guess my love for the films of that era added to my enjoyment of his short tale of a paranoid painter. Its ending reminded me of the Ray Bradbury short story "While the Whole Town Slept."

The Final Word:

Monster fun for Halloween. I hope this is the first of many more fun films by Ryan Schifrin.

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