Review: ABBEY GRACE (2016)

Abbey Grace

As a writer, director and producer Stephen Durham has been involved in several genre films including BLOODLINES and THE BUTCHERS. Now he’s back and filling all roles with ABBY GRACE, a tale of ghostly possession and evil from beyond the grave.

After their mother dies psychiatrist Stacy (Debbie Sheridan ) returns home to look after her brother Ben (Jacob Hobbs THE BUTCHERS) who suffers from OCD and agoraphobia and as a result hasn’t left the house in 23 years. The relationship is a strained one. Stacy upsets his perfectly ordered world and her dog Duke unnerves him to no end. However, after Duke finds an odd little box while out for a walk things go from bad to worse. When Ben starts claiming to see a little girl on the house security cameras. That girl is Abbey Grace (Maggie McNabb) of course, Stacy calls in her colleague Bridget (Amber Gallaway THE BUTCHERS) to help.

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ABBEY GRACE is an example of low budget horror done right. It knows what its limits are and works within them well. Effects are simple and practical, no half-assing something the budget won’t cover. It’s all shot mostly in one house with some exteriors and a small main cast. The script stays focused and never gets to big for its budget. It’s not the most original thing you’ll see with bits and pieces lifted from everything from CUJO and THE RING to THE AMITYVILLE HORROR and ALICE SWEET ALICE but it integrates them into the story in ways that make sense so it doesn’t seem stolen.

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The film does have its flaws. when Ben is so demanding and unlikable it was hard to believe anyone, even his sister, would put up with him. He would have been put in an institution and been done with him. This is turned to a strength as the film goes on and he’s forced to confront his issues in order to survive. It still could have been toned down a little at the start. The medium Roman (Semi Anthony HEADGAME) is a bit too much of a cliched character. He should have been given at least some traits to differ him from so many others we’ve seen before.

But given the film’s overall quality these are small quibbles. And it’s good to see a genre film centered around older professionals, not school kids for a change.

ABBEY GRACE is available  from Uncork’d Entertainment

Jim Morazzini

Movie buff, gym rat and crazy cat guy

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