'Abrakadabra: Limited Edition' [BR +CD]
(Germán Baudino, Eugenia Rigón, Gustavo Dalessanro, et al / Blu-ray+CD / R / (2018) 2020 / Cauldron Films)
Overview: What the eye sees and the ear hears, the mind believes!
Thirty years after his father is tragically killed during a magic trick gone wrong, Lorenzo’s own magic act is suddenly derailed by a series of gruesome magic themed murders.
Struggling to prove his innocence, he begins to unravel the mystery that leads him through an intricate, bloody trail all the way back to his father’s demise.
Blu-ray Verdict: Filled with a pulsing Goblin-esque soundtrack and all the earmarks of a classic Giallo, 'Abrakadabra' pays homage to the Italian horror films of the '70s, and is the third, and final entry in the Argentine-born Brothers's Giallo Trilogy (the other two being 'Francesca' and 'Sonno Profondo').
Well, I have absolutely no idea how they did it, but those wondrous Onetti Brothers have conjured up a film that from the off, if you had no prior knowledge, you would assume (and without a shadow of a doubt) was filmed back in the glorious days of Giallo!
Oh, for those not in the know, and in the context of 20th-century literature and film, especially among English speakers and non-Italians in general, "Giallo" refers specifically to a particular Italian thriller-horror genre that has mystery or detective elements and often contains slasher, crime fiction, psychological thriller, psychological horror, sexploitation, psychedelic and, less frequently, supernatural horror elements.
Indeed, this particular style of Italian-produced murder mystery thriller-horror film usually blends the atmosphere and suspense of thriller fiction with elements of horror fiction (such as slasher violence) and eroticism (similar to the French fantastique genre), and often involves a mysterious killer whose identity is not revealed until the final act of the film.
Ok, so as we're all up to date now, this genre having been developed in the mid-to-late 1960s, peaked in popularity during the 1970s, and subsequently declined over the next few decades, but my goodness, these brothers have most certainly blown the dust and cobwebs off the genre and brought it back to oh-so colorful life!
Both Luciano and Nico Onetti - who also directed the international anthology 'A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio' (2019) and 'What the Waters Left Behind' (2017) - stars Germán Baudino ('What the Waters Left Behind'), María Eugenia Rigón ('Deadpoint'), Clara Kovacic ('I Am So, Tita from Buenos Aires'), Ivi Brickell ('Until It Happens'), Gustavo D´Alessandro ('Francesca'), Raúl Gederlini ('Francesca') and Pablo Vilela ('Giants of Mexico').
With a lovely run time of a healthy, but not over done 70-minutes, watching along with 'Abrakadabra' (which, for me, is a definitive Giallo homage to films like both 'Tenebrae' and 'The Bird With The Crystal Plumage'), you have zero idea who has done what, who is most likely to die next, how it will end, or, for the most part, what the f**k is actually going on!
I mean, there was even a (supposed) big reveal that came during the final act, one where I accepted what was being said, yet still remained confused - and, as it turned out, rightly so!
What we get is a theatrical performance that provides us a washed up, alcoholic gambler of a magician, still traumatized from when he sadly witnessed the death of his own father on stage (following a magic trick gone wrong), who suddenly becomes the prime suspect in a murder when a woman turns up dead amongst his own equipment.
From then on in, as the cameras tip and twirl, back and forth, up and down, the bodies continue to fall and just about everything continues to point to our already-in-the-hot seat magician - but he's doggedly determined to prove that he's being framed!
The original story was written by Carlos Goitia and so with supervision from both brothers as directors, it's obvious their main challenge was to create a story that could fit the low budget they obviously had, and yet still adequately deal with the subject of mind and personality.
Ergo, the brothers have created a rather bold and expansive use of Gaillo via their camera work, for flashing between faces, close up's here and there and everywhere (to the point that sometimes all you see are twitching eye balls), for a spit second you think everyone's a suspect. Whether it be their mannerisms, hushed conversations, flirtive looks and shy gestures, you seem (as the viewer, and amateur detective looking in) that the killer must be that guy, but no, wait, surely now it must be this girl, but no wait, ...!
Having said all that, 'Abrakadabra' is actually set in 1981 and as us oldies know that era oh-so well, here the wardrobe, set design, hair, and makeup, well, my goodness it's all so spot on it's actually quite magnificent.
Of course, due to the whole Giallo aspects, the '70s creep in, smother in certain cases, the actors and scenery accordingly, which is just fine with me. The soundtrack alone is magnificent and then we get the overall color correction, created in post-production, to bring the Giallo era to the fore, works splendidly, seamlessly.
Indeed, it's amazing to think that 'Abrakadabra' wasn't actually shot on such expressive means as either a 16mm or 35mm camera, which I'm sure they would have LOVED to have used, but using what they did obviously worked out rather well too, of course.
In closing, the brothers even took time to design the end credits to have that Giallo '70s with a tinge of '80s aura and specific look - and boy did they nail it!
Obviously neither are fans of “neo gialli,” here their collective research has paid of to the hilt and back, Word has it they even brought in a real magician to come to the shooting to help them stage things, and coach the actors also.
Also, it seems they also used real magic tricks for the murders. For example, the guillotine and the box with the spades are real acts! And in the theatre scene, there’s a real time trick for us viewers to watch, safely from the comfort of our own sofa's! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Limited to 1000 copies
CD soundtrack with music by Luciano Onetti
Behind the Scenes
Italian 5.1, Italian 2.0, and English 2.0 audio options
English & Spanish subtitles
Inserts with promotional artwork
Limited Edition high quality slipcase with original poster art
Official Purchase Link