A five-strong scientific research team consists of group leader Smith (Amy Gordon), the insolent hothead Bob (Robert Berlin), macho Victor (Brandon Grimes), and techies Pete (Justin Prince Moy) and Sarah (Katrina Mattson).
They've embarked on a journey into the Himalayan mountains to survey a research centre there that's recently stopped all outgoing communications. Indeed, upon arrival, Smith's team discovers the centre to be deserted. They try to contact the outside world but soon realise they're in a "dead zone" reception-wise: they're on their own.
So, the previous team, now missing, was led by a Dr Martin (Magdalin Smus). Smith and her cohorts inspect the research centre and find an old-style tape recorder, which gives them access to increasingly fraught monthly log entries which make mention of "something (that) doesn't want us here in the mountains". Later they unearth a journal which carries even more details of growing unease.
Uncovering evidence that one of the previous team, Solomon (John Carlssun), is still active, Smith and co go out looking for him. Much to his disdain, Pete is required to stay at base and persist in trying to communicate with the outside world.
As the search for Solomon commences, Sarah and Victor head out in one direction, Smith and Bob in the other. We learn that they're there to look for a "Yeti plant" which, if it even exists, can apparently "change the face of modern medicine". How, you may ask. Well, it "stops cells from dying altogether". This is especially intriguing news to Smith because she was diagnosed with having brain cancer six weeks earlier, and Bob who has a loved one that desperately needs healing ...
Once this foursome is out doing their thing in the snowy mountains, it soon becomes apparent that they are not alone. Indeed, the killings soon begin. Before long all concerned realise there is a monster in their midst. Is it, as Smith deduces, protecting the sacred plant?
Oh, and what about poor Pete, on his own back at base. Is he any safer there?
But wait, that's not the only plot that ABOMINABLE has to offer. We also have a bit of double-crossing within the team as hidden agendas reveal themselves and we see that sometimes humans can be just as monstrous as, er, monsters. So at least one character here transpires to be nefarious enough for us to actually look forward to witnessing them receive their comeuppance.
Of course, in any film of this ilk, we're all waiting for sight of the monster (Timothy Shultz). We get our first semi-glimpse 13 minutes in, and then in full - albeit very fleetingly - 3 minutes later. The film shoots its load a little prematurely in this respect, I feel. And, as predicted, the reveal provokes more titters than shrieks. It's 2020 and we're still watching yeti films featuring men wearing woolly rubber creature costumes ...
On the plus side, ABOMINABLE does proffer nice snowy locales (it was filmed on location in Poland and Russia), and some really handsome cinematography. The score is never anything less than bombastic, really hoping to put the viewer on the brink of their seat at every turn. It fails to do this, of course, but I did personally find its persistence entertainingly amusing. Performances and dialogue both complement the score's overly enthusiastic efforts: everyone's constantly on edge in a bid to make even the most perfunctory scene an extravaganza of tension. Again, there's very little achieved to this end, but there's a warped sense of fun to be gleamed from watching their endeavours.
Directed with panache by Jamaal Burden, the guy who gave us 2018's enjoyably crummy ELVES, the fast-moving ABOMINABLE also enjoys mostly practical FX by Joe Castro, which are quite gory at times (limbs torn off; faces ripped apart; heads removed from their rightful place etc). At times, I felt like I was watching a less-fun updating of James C Wasson's classic Bigfoot flick NIGHT OF THE DEMON ...
As a one-time-only watch, I quite enjoyed ABOMINABLE. Whether that was because of what was unfurling on screen or despite it, I'm not quite sure. I'm almost excited to report that the end credits promise a sequel, bafflingly entitled THE MUMMY REVENGE (the grammatical error is the film's, not mine).
ABOMINABLE is being released by Uncork'd Entertainment on US DVD. We were sent an online screener link for review purposes.
The film was presented uncut at 72 minutes and 3 seconds in length (yeah, that's another plus - it's pretty lean and brisk). Picture quality was very sharp, clean and clear, while retaining the very cinematic 2.35:1 ratio. I have to say, the English stereo audio was extremely rousing, even watching online with very basic laptop speakers.
There's no word currently on whether the DVD will contain bonus features but, maybe, life's too short to even be contemplating such matters.
ABOMINABLE. The 2020 release, not one of the umpteen other films which share that title. It's trashy fun which takes itself very seriously and oddly feels all the more ridiculous as a result. It's short enough for me to say it's worth a watch.
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by Uncork'd Entertainment|