Abigail Movie: How Does Melissa Barrera Feel About Being a Modern Day Scream Queen?

Abigail Movie: How Does Melissa Barrera Feel About Being a Modern Day Scream Queen?

If there are two things that go together it’s vampires and horror movies. Now add to that the gory, blood-fuelled, teen misfit aesthetic of Scream VI and the fact that the vampire in question is a murderous little girl and you have the recipe for one of 2024’s top horror movies, which Abigail certainly is.

Ahead of Abigail’s release, Lifehacker Australia spoke with stars Melissa Barrera and Alisha Weir, as well as directors Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin to get the lowdown on their new vampire flick and why it’s a must-see.

What is Abigail’s release date in Australia?

Let’s start with the most important info: when can you lay eyes on Abigail in Australia?

The film is set for release in cinemas on Thursday, April 18 – so not long to go!

What is the plot of Abigail?

abigail movie 2024
Alisha Weir as Abigail in Abigail (Image: Universal)

If the premise of Abigail seems a bit familiar that might be because the film is a loose reboot of the 1936 classic monster film Dracula’s Daughter.

The filmmakers put a modern spin on this story, however, by centring the story around a group of unlikely prospective criminals who agree to kidnap the 12-year-old daughter of an unknown underworld figure, in exchange for a $50 million ransom. The only catch is they need to hold her captive overnight in an isolated mansion, which is when they find out that the little girl they captured is something far more than they bargained for.

The ensuing two hours involves a plethora of horrors as the group of mistrustful criminals turn on Abigail and each other in order to survive the night. It also involves a lot of blood.

“Abigail is on another level with blood count. I don’t even know how many litres of blood we used, that would be an interesting actual number to have,” star Melissa Barrera told Lifehacker Australia, adding that the cast had to use an equal amount of shaving cream to remove it all at the end of each filming day.

“It’s definitely the most [fake blood] we’ve ever used, without a doubt. There was a line in the script that said The Shining elevator would be jealous, and I think we really took that to heart.” director Matt Bettinelli-Olpin concurred.

These comments are pretty significant considering Gillett, Bettinelli-Olpin and Barrera have all been involved with the last two Scream films. The supernatural angle of Abigail also allowed the directors to return to an infamous gory trick that they previously employed in Ready or Not: exploding bodies.

“[The team] engineered these rigs that are basically giant canisters with holes cut in them that they fill with all sorts of disgusting things: the blood, crushed up banana, cloth material, and they just connect it to the end of this pressurised tank that they can control the amount of air that travels through it, and they just let it go in a giant explosion,” co-director Tyler Gillett said, explaining how they achieved such a gory splatter effect.

Trust us, this is something worth seeing on the big screen.

Who is Abigail?

abigail movie 2024
Alisha Weir as Abigail in Abigail (Image: Universal)

Abigail is definitely a character worthy of the title of the movie. Played by up-and-coming Irish actress Alisha Weir, Abigail a savage decades-old vampire hiding behind the disguise of a little girl who loves things like ballet dancing.

The directors said they chose dance as a way to help enhance the film’s tone:

“One of the things that we’re always looking for in anything we do is how do we make this have a real clear identity? How do we find something that can like really encapsulate the tone?” Bettinelli-Olpin shared. “…we found out that Alisha is really good at dance and can learn really quickly. So we just decided to steer into it.”

“At the start, dance wasn’t as big as it is now in Abigail. But the more we talked about it, and the more we talked about her character ideas, excitement built and the next thing we knew it was a huge part of Abigail and everything she’d done,” Weir explained.

Abigail has multiple iconic dance sequences in the film, one of which certainly has the potential to become a viral moment, reminiscent of Wednesday or M3GAN.

“[In] the dance scenes, you really got to see that fun side of her and I think that’s what makes Abigail so unique is that she is a ballerina vampire. And in those dance scenes, you see that side of her you see this sassy and cheeky side of her,” Weir continued.

Who is in the cast for the Abigail movie?

abigail movie 2024
Melissa Barrera, Kathryn Newton, William Catlett and Kevin Durand in Abigail (Image: Universal)

One of the biggest appeals of Abigail is its ensemble cast whom make up the ragtag group of criminals – each with their own hidden backstory.

Melissa Barrera leads the group as Joey, the medic on the team, along with Alisha Weir as the titular vampire girl. The cast members had nothing but praise to share for each other’s work:

“It was amazing to work with Alisha. It’s just mind blowing that someone so young, can have that range and can pull off, playing basically two different characters in a movie and so fearlessly,” Barrera said.

“[Melissa] really is just the best role model and inspiration that any little girl my age could ever ask for. Every day I was in awe of her all the time and watching everything she did trying to learn from her. She was just so kind on and off set,” Weird added.

Filling out the rest of the ensemble is Dan Stevens (Legion, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire) as Frank, Kathryn Newton (Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania) as Sammy, William Catlett (Constellation) as Rickles and Kevin Durand (The Strain) as Peter. Abigail also features Euphoria star Angus Cloud in his final role, after the actor tragically passed in 2023.

Outside of the criminal group, Giancarlo Esposito (The Boys, The Mandalorian) also appears as Lambert, the one orchestrating the whole job.

Melissa Barrera shares her thoughts on being a Scream Queen

abigail movie 2024
Melissa Barrera and Dan Stevens in Abigail (Image: Universal)

For Melissa Barrera, Abigail marks her fifth foray into the horror genre, putting her firmly on the path towards becoming a bonafide “Scream Queen” (if you don’t consider her one already).

For Barrera, the possibility of being included as one of the influential actresses in horror, akin to Jamie Lee Curtis or Sarah Michelle Gellar, is an honour:

“It feels like an honour to be called that. I don’t know that I’m deserving of that yet, but it’s an honour to even be considered among so many great actresses that I grew up watching,” she said.

“The horror fans are very much still into the those labels and categorising certain actresses. Obviously there’s the iconic ones from the classics but I think there’s a lot of new Scream Queens that are being born constantly and I know that the fans love that. So I think it is very relevant still.

Who is Abigail’s father?

All that’s known about the identity of Abigail’s father at the outset of the film is that he is a notorious underworld figure who you probably shouldn’t mess with. Considering this is a reboot of Dracula’s Daughter, however, you can safely assume that whoever her father is also a vampire, and perhaps Dracula himself.

While to reveal the identity of Abigail’s father here and the actor who plays him would be a spoiler (check back after you’ve seen the movie and you’ll get it), the directors did expand on what they were looking for when casting the role:

“The challenge is to make sure that, if you have a character that’s going to enter into your story that late, that it doesn’t overshadow what’s come before it,” Gillett explained.

“[He] is one of those actors that has so much presence and so much gravitas, but he also is invisible. He disappears into his roles, so seemingly effortlessly. When we first saw his hair and makeup test, like the pictures of him as dad were legitimately chilling. We knew we had made the right choice, that you have this character that isn’t maybe the brute that you think he’s going to be, there’s a sort of elegance and a grace to him. That to us is far more terrifying because it suggests that this person is really calculated.”

Abigail Movie trailers

If you’re read enough and are ready to see what some of this vampire mayhem looks like on-screen, check out the trailers for Abigail below:

Abigail releases in Australian cinemas from April 18.

Lead Image Credit: Universal Pictures

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.

At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


Leave a Reply