Abominable (Anchor Bay, 2006) D: Ryan Schifrin, w/ Matt McCoy, Haley Joel. Rating: NN; DVD package: NNN
Rear window meets the abominable Snowman – and why not? We’ve already seen Rear Window meets giant bugs (Mimic 3) and the serial killer next door (Disturbia). The basic idea of an isolated disabled guy witnessing a crime but unable to act can generate lots of suspense.
Trouble is, novice director Ryan Schifrin sucks at suspense. Sure, a guy in a bigfoot suit ravages the girls in the cottage next door, and one of them gets naked, but the action takes an hour to arrive, and it’s got a paint-by-numbers feel.
Flip to the commentary track. Schifrin talks about stealing from the best even as he bungles his steal and points out a non-existent character arc.
He quotes Joe Bob Briggs’s famous “blood, beast and breasts” line and sounds at times like a dutiful child reciting his film school lessons. Schifrin called in every favour he could to get the film made. Those included getting his dad, famed film composer Lalo Schifrin (Mission: Impossible and many more) to do the score, top illustrator Drew Struzan to do the poster, a free crane from the equipment house, and more. But take heart, would-be filmmakers who lack all these advantages: you don’t really need them.
Schifrin also got tennis buddy and TV actor Matt McCoy to star. He’s okay, but the movie only comes to life in those too brief moments when B movie veterans Jeffrey Combs and Lance Henriksen are onscreen.
The definitive Abominable Snowman movie has yet to be made. Meanwhile, console yourself with a couple of paperback thrillers where Yeti and Sasquatch rock out big time: Philip Kerr’s Esau and Michael Slade’s Cutthroat.
EXTRAS Schifrin, McCoy and Jeffrey Combs commentary, making-of doc, Schifrin student film, bloopers, deleted scenes, Schifrin essay, more. Widescreen.