The Inverse Interview

“They Always Want More”: Abigail Brings New Levels of Gore to the Vampire Thriller

The cast of Radio Silence’s latest film combine humor, horror and the supernatural.

Universal Studios
The Inverse Interview

There can never be enough blood on a Radio Silence set.

The production team behind such hits as Ready Or Not and the Scream reboot have an affinity for gore. Blood, guts, and exploding heads are par the course in their filmography — but their latest project, Abigail, might take things a step further.

For what it’s worth, Abigail is a story that requires a fair amount of bloodshed. The film is part-heist movie, part-vampire slasher, following a band of criminals who abduct a young girl (Matilda’s Alisha Weir) for ransom... only to realize that she’s actually a centuries-old bloodsucker. Armed with only their wits and locked in a dilapidated mansion, our unlikely heroes have to fight to survive the night. Of course, not everyone makes it out alive, resulting in some crazy kills that required buckets and buckets of red corn syrup to pull off.

“I can’t imagine how they will top this amount of blood,” Melissa Barrera tells Inverse. Abigail marks the actress’ third collaboration with Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillet — and after starring in both 2022’s Scream and Scream VI, she more or less knows what to expect: “They always want more. Always.”

Radio Silence (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillet) on the set of Abigail.

Universal Studios

Still, that expectation came as a bit of a surprise to other members of the cast. Will Catlett, who plays the cool-headed sniper Rickles, found himself doused in blood over and over before the cameras even started rolling. “I remember Matt coming over, and he’s looking me up and down,” Catlett says of one key scene. “I’m already soaked and he’s like, ‘More blood.’” He’d get drenched in even more blood after being appraised by Tyler Gillet. “So you got it dripping everywhere,” he adds with a laugh. “But I do not envy Melissa or Kathryn.”

It’s not really a spoiler to say that our entire cast ends up covered in blood, whether they manage to avoid Abigail’s wrath or end up in her crosshairs. That’s as true for the steely Joey (Barrera) as it is for Sammy, a Gen Z hacker played by another notable scream queen, Kathryn Newton. The Freaky star found herself at the center of a lot of Abigail’s pitch black humor, but she also had to contend with much more than just blood and guts, as one big set piece sees her falling head over heels into a pool of decaying bodies.

The cast of Abigail before they get drenched in blood.

Universal Pictures

Newton looks back on that scene with a subtle sense of dread — “It was so bad,” she says of filming it — but recalls rallying for a higher goal. “I remember hyping myself up. I’m like, All right, do it. Do it for the fans. You’re doing it for the audience. Do it, man! Just go!

Believe it or not, she’d actually do it again: That’s the kind of enthusiasm Radio Silence inspires. Apart from an above-average affinity for blood, the directing duo runs a refreshingly-collaborative set. “Matt and Tyler never told me no,” Newton says. That freedom to play led to some of Abigail’s most raucous sequences, making it as much a comedy as it is a monster movie: “Everybody was dying for their roles and committed to bringing it. I feel like we just wanted to make each other laugh, and hopefully the audience can feel it, too.”

As the eponymous vampire, Weir inspired many members of the cast to step up their game.

Universal Pictures

In Abigail, the laughs live side-by-side with the scares. Weir is equal parts hilarious and unnerving as the titular ballerina vampire, to the point where she had her co-stars tickled and terrified in equal measure.

“It was like the eyes of Lucifer just boring through my soul,” says Kevin Durand, whose Peter serves as the group’s muscle. He spends a lot of time fighting off Abigail, and witnessing Weir’s duality firsthand. “She’s like going after me with my own crucifix ... Then cut would happen. She’d be like, ‘What are you having for lunch?’” Durand says, invoking the timbre of a 12-year-old girl. “It was just like, what just happened to you?”

That said, her performance only added to the immersive rapport on set. “We all wanted to show up for Alicia,” Newton adds. “We really wanted to impress her and be like, ‘Look, you might know all your lines, but I know my lines too!’” That camaraderie clearly inspired a perfect storm of humor and horror: if Abigail isn’t the best vampire film of the year, it’ll certainly be the most visceral.

Abigail opens in theaters on April 19.

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