This is the first of three different Abominable Snowman movies that the SyFy Channel have made (perhaps they got a good deal on fake fur?), not related to each other that I can tell. Oh, Abominable Snowman! You poor cousin to the Bigfoot / Sasquatch, you get no love from poor quality “reality” TV shows, possibly because it’s too expensive to film where you normally hang out. Well, would hang out if you existed, which you don’t. At least with the fun fictional creatures, I don’t have to put up with some idiot out in the woods trying desperately to prove their existence.
This is the only long-form directorial effort from a fellow called Ryan Schifrin. You may recognise the surname, and that’s because he’s the son of Lalo Schifrin, the 6-time Oscar nominee, Grammy winner, composer of the “Mission: Impossible” theme, and legend of movie and TV music. In case you were wondering why the sound on this low-budget SyFy movie was so good, it’s because his largely retired Dad helped out. Factor in the guest appearances from people like Jeffrey Combs, Lance Henriksen and Paul Gleason, and you’ve got something that looks like a movie!
“Abominable” stars Matt McCoy, who non-fans of comedy may remember as Steve Guttenberg’s replacement in the later “Police Academy” efforts. He’s Preston Rogers, and is in a wheelchair, being taken back to his home in mountain country by a nurse at the…mental hospital?…he’s been at for the last six months. His wife died in a climbing accident and he was paralysed from the waist down, or was it a climbing accident? (hint: no, it wasn’t). Across the street, a group of girls have rented the cabin for a bachelorette party, and with the rather large Yeti (seriously, I can’t be bothered to type “Abominable Snowman” every bloody time it shows up), things are shaping up nicely.
The first time Preston wheels over to a window and looks out at the hotties across the way, I (and every other person who’d ever seen other movies) went “oh no, this is going to be Rear Window with monsters, isn’t it?” And while that’s sort of the case, they try and do fun stuff with it.
But before I say nice things, I wanted to have a word about details. Details are important when it comes to making low-budget movies, as they’re one of the few things you have control over. When they mess up simple things, it takes you out of things and gives the movie less chance to win you over. Case in point – there’s no way a guy who couldn’t walk would ever be able to live in a place like that, on a steep hill, with steps everywhere. But even excusing that, he gets into the cabin, wakes the laptop up from sleep mode and makes phone calls. He’s not been there for 6 months! And if he’s been in a mental hospital, who’s he calling with important business information? What meetings was he going to before?
He’s able to contact the police via the satellite internet when the phone lines are down. Who was paying the bills for the last six months? Sorry, I’ll stop doing that. So the police say he’s a crank and threaten to arrest him if he keeps it up – keep it up! Get them to come and arrest you! Given that a potential Yeti sighting, and disappearances of people, are front page news in this town, you’d think the police would be a little quicker to trust. Talking of the police, when the girls call them to report their friend missing, they’re told you can’t report a person missing til 48 hours has elapsed. No! There’s no limit on how quickly you can report a person missing, the whole “you have to wait 24 hours” thing is an invention of the movies.
So the girls across the way get picked off, the Yeti turns from ground-shaking monster to light-footed stealth-ninja depending on the needs of the scene, the police eventually show up, and the guest stars all get eaten. And it’s sort of fun! The music’s great, it’s all shot and lit well, there’s plenty of decent actors (including ISCFC favourite – and occasional Donald Farmer employee – Tiffany Shepis as one of the bachelorette group). Matt McCoy is a bit bland, and his dramatic monologue near the end is rotten, but it’s mostly fine. Respect to the way they keep the monster off screen as much as possible, because if you’re doing “man in a furry suit”, it’s never going to look that good – and the face, when we see it, looks like a mentally disabled Harry (from Harry and the Hendersons) crossed with Wilford Brimley.
The DVD is chock full of decent special features (including Jeffrey Combs on commentary, who’s only in the movie for five minutes), so if you’re in a forgiving frame of mind, you could do worse than “Abominable”.
Rating: thumbs in the middle