(director: Tyler Gillett, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin; screenwriters: Gary Busick, Stephen Shields; cinematographer: Aaron Morton; editor: Michael P. Shawver; music: Brian Tyler: cast: Melissa Barrera (Joey), Dan Stevens (Frank), Alisha Weir (Abigail), William Catlett (Rickles), Kathryn Newton (Sammy), Kevin Durand (Peter), Matthew Goode (Father), Giancarlo Esposito (Lambert), Angus Cloud (Dean); Runtime: 109; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Paul Neinstein, William Sherak, James Vanderbilt, Chad Villella, Trip Vinson; Universal Pictures; 2024-Ireland, USA, Canada)

“Work of schlock art.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A bloody B-movie vampire horror pic by co-directors Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, who also co-directed “Ready or Not” and “Scream”. The silly but fun screenplay is by Stephen Shields and Guy Busick. The film was inspired by the 1936 Dracula’s Daughter.

Lambert (Giancarlo Esposito) recruits a bunch of dim-wit criminals who don’t know each other for a snatch job. They will call themselves the Rat Pack (not too original, especially when you hear their first names). The members include the former hard-ass cop Frank (Dan Stevens), the goth-like computer hacker Sammy (Kathryn Newton), the moronic Peter (Kevin Durand), the ex-Marine Rickles (William Catlett), the airhead getaway driver Dean (Angus Cloud) and the Medic, a recovering addict with a mother’s instincts for kids, Joey (Melissa Barrera).

The gang is hired to kidnap a 12-year-old ballerina named Abigail (Alisha Weir), dubbed by them as “Tiny Dancer,” to collect millions of dollars from her wealthy father (Matthew Goode) for her safe return. But the surprise is that Abigail is a vampire. The other surprise is that the mansion (which looks like something Universal used in its 1930s horror pics) where they are keeping her is sealed shut, and the gang is trapped inside for 24 hours and she’s the one in her tutu threatening them.

Watching Abigail transform herself from a sweetie pie to a bloody screaming super-powerful monster, as she uses her ballerina pirouettes as vamp-like weapons to take out her abductors, is a funny as hell work of schlock art.

It’s probably more a black comedy than a scary horror pic.

Alisha Weir is bloody good as the vampire, the ensemble cast goes with the silliness of the venture and give good performances. Also, it’s unpredictable, fast-paced and enjoyable as a different type of vampire film. It might appeal to a wide range of viewers that range from the frat house crowd to the nursing home one. Its major faults are that it relies too much on visual gimmicks and loses its suspense with too much bickering among the kidnappers.

  REVIEWED ON 4/21/2024  GRADE: B