Review: Madman assembles house of death in bizarre ‘Abattoir’
If nothing else, the sloppy horror/noir hybrid “Abattoir” is the weirdest effort yet from cult director Darren Lynn Bousman — and that’s saying something, given that he once helmed the 2008 splatter musical “Repo! The Genetic Opera.”
Jessica Lowndes stars as real-estate reporter Julia Talben, who looks into why someone bought the house where her sister was murdered and then transported the room where it happened to a forgotten small town called New English. Julia’s investigation leads her to fiery evangelical preacher Jebediah Crone (played by the always colorful Dayton Callie), who has spent years constructing a one-of-a-kind haunted house in the middle of nowhere using only pre-existing rooms where brutal slayings have occurred.
All of that’s bizarre enough, but it doesn’t explain why Bousman and screenwriter Christopher Monfette have Julia and her detective ex-boyfriend (Joe Anderson) looking and talking like they just stepped out of a 1940s Hollywood B-picture, or why “Abattoir” spends so much of its running time establishing a mythology so complicated that it’s already spilled over into a comic book prequel.
The inexplicability of “Abattoir” keeps it engaging for a while, but by the time it hits the one-hour mark without anything even remotely exciting happening, even a horror connoisseur’s patience will run thin. Ultimately, this film has a memorable villain and a stunning location, and not much else. It even skimps on those two assets, holding them back for a franchise that may never exist.
Running time: 1 hour, 39 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinelounge, Hollywood
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