Angus Cloud’s Scene-Stealing Final Performance in ‘Abigail’ Is a Must-See

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Universal
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Universal

It might be hard to imagine how any human character could steal the show in a movie all about a 12-year-old vampire-ballerina, but in the deliciously absurd horror movie Abigail, Angus Cloud does just that—even despite limited screen time.

(Warning: Spoilers for Abigail below.)

Before Cloud’s tragic death by accidental drug overdose last summer, the ascendant actor had made a name for himself playing the soulful, empathetic drug dealer Fezco on Euphoria. In Abigail, which marks one of Cloud’s last projects, he gets to flex a more comedic muscle as “Dean”—a getaway driver who might like drinking just a little too much. From his naturalistic stage presence to his impeccable comedic timing, Cloud makes a meal of this role, even if his character exits way too soon.

In the movie, which premiered Friday, Cloud joins a crew of kidnappers who’ve all been assembled to hold a nameless millionaire’s daughter for ransom. For obvious reasons, none of them use their real names, but the crew includes Melissa Barrera as the mysterious “Joey,” Dan Stevens as the hot-headed bagman “Frank,” William Catlett as the calculating former military man “Rickles,” and Kevin Durand as the bone-headed muscle, “Peter.”

Unlike Cloud’s endearing Euphoria character, Dean is... honestly kind of skeevy. I mean, he’s still charismatic as hell, and you’ll still probably love him against all reason, but the reality is that he spends most of his time on screen either chugging liquor straight from the bottle or hitting on Kathryn Newton’s rich-girl hacker character, “Sammy.” Oh—and drawing a penis on a passed-out colleague’s face.

And yet. And yet!

How can you dislike Dean as he’s wheeling around the room from person to person on a kiddie bike, or unzipping his absurd neon fanny pack to pull out some more weed? Here, as in Euphoria and other projects like Freaky Tales, Cloud’s aura of childlike innocence serves him well, allowing us to look the other way as he pesters Sammy with his flirting or, later, when he pranks her by lurking in the back of her room with a scary mask on. Sure, he’d probably be insufferable in real life, but as a character, Dean is one of those guys whose cheeks you just want to squish.

Angus Cloud, Kathryn Newton, Alisha Weir, Kevin Durand, Dan Stevens, Melissa Barrera and Will Catlett.

(L-R) Angus Cloud, Kathryn Newton, Alisha Weir, Kevin Durand, Dan Stevens, Melissa Barrera and Will Catlett.

Bernard Walsh/Universal Pictures

Directors Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin spoke to Cloud’s incomparable charm during a recent interview with Variety.

“It was just so evident how much fun he was having,” Gillett said. “I don’t think we’ve ever worked with somebody that forces the other actors in the scene to pay attention. There’s not a false moment in anything that he does.”

Gillett added that Cloud’s performance style “gave everyone permission to be a little weird and take some swings that maybe they wouldn’t have otherwise, just because of how natural and charismatic he is in a scene.”

Cloud had already finished filming his scenes in Abigail before his death last summer, and the directors confirmed that everything we see and hear from his character in the film came from him. “There’s not even an ADR line off-camera that we needed for story,” Bettinelli-Olpin said. “It’s all Angus.”

Angus Cloud in Abigail.

Angus Cloud in Abigail.

Universal Pictures

Cloud receives a special dedication at the end of the film, and apparently, he even helped shape its soundtrack. It was his idea to use The Jacka’s 2009 song “Glamorous Lifestyle” during an early scene in which his character sings along to the car radio while driving (much to Sammy’s annoyance as she type, type, types away). After Cloud’s death, Bettinelli-Olpin told Variety, “it was just never on the table to cut it. It was like, ‘No, that meant a lot to Angus. Let’s let that be a part of the movie.’”

Apart from his vocal stylings and his captivating presence, Cloud’s greatest contribution to the film might be his character’s ridiculous death. It’s a classic “something goes bump in the night” moment, right after he catches a stoned glimpse of a very old mural depicting his crew’s young kidnapping victim. Just as soon as Dean decides the coast his clear, an invisible force snatches him, dragging his flailing body down the stairs. By the time poor Sammy finds him, he’s gone out in one of the worst ways possible. Let’s just say that when audiences see the reveal, they might lose their heads.

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