• Abrakadabra (Cauldron Films) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Cauldron Films
    Released on: June 23rd, 2020.
    Director: Luciano Onetti, Nicolás Onetti
    Cast: Germán Baudino, Eugenia Rigón, Gustavo Dalessanro, Clara Kovacic, Ivi Brickell
    Year: 2018
    Purchase From Diabolik DVD

    Abrakadabra – Movie Review:

    Abrakadabra opens with a prologue set in Turin in 1951 where a magician is shot and killed during a performance when a trick doesn’t go as planned. Decades later, his son, Lorenzo Manzini (Germán Baudino), has followed in his father’s footsteps and makes his living as a professional magician as well. All is not well in Lorenzo’s life, however, as he deals with alcoholism and possibly some anger management issues as well.

    When he arrives at the theater where he’s supposed to perform one night, he’s greeted by a small army of cops who have come to investigate the recently discovered body of a young woman found amongst his gear, seemingly tied into the supposedly supernatural angle that he brings to his act. The cops aren’t sure who did it, but the killer does seem to have targeted Lorenzo and those around him for reasons not yet made clear. As he deals with his lovely assistant/lady friend, Antonella (Eugenia Rigón), even engaging in a three-way with her and another woman that they pick up at a hookah bar, the killer strikes again, getting ever closer to Lorenzo himself.

    Directed by Luciano Onetti and Nicolás Onetti, the same Argentinian duo that gave us Francesca, Abrakadabra isn’t as suspenseful as it needed to be, so there isn’t a whole lot of tension here, but it sure is a visually impressive work. Running a brisk sixty-nine-minutes in length (with about five-minutes or so of that running time taken up by the end credits), it moves very quickly and features some seriously awesome cinematography from Carlos Goitia (who co-wrote with the Onetti brothers). Made, intentionally, to look like a vintage Italian giallo picture, the film contains visuals nods to pictures like Suspiria and Psycho (and even H.G. Lewis’ The Wizard Of Gore what with that whole guillotine thing!), makes use of some truly wild camera angles and occasional split screen effects and is set to a genuinely great (and clearly Goblin-influenced) soundtrack from Luciano Onetti. The production values here are on point across the board.

    The acting is decent. It looks like everyone here was dubbed in post, which is in keeping with the films that the picture is trying to emulate, but Germán Baudino gives a sufficiently crazed performance as the film’s male lead. He gets pretty manic as the story builds and his character’s psyche starts to unravel, using facial expressions and body language quite well (the movie isn’t heavy on dialogue). Eugenia Rigón is also pretty cool to watch here as his beguiling and beautiful assistant. She’s got a unique and strong screen presence that the Onetti’s manage to exploit quite well here.

    Abrakadabra – Blu-ray Review:

    Cauldron Films brings Abrakadabra to Blu-ray using up 22.5GBs of space on the 25GB disc. The AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer is framed at 2.35.1 widescreen and it looks excellent. This was shot digitally and, in post-production, was color graded and tweaked to take on the appearance of an older film and it works quite well but at the same time doesn’t sacrifice detail or texture, which remain strong throughout. The disc is free of noticeable compression artifacts and overall, given the intent of the visuals here, it looks really very good on Blu-ray.

    A 16-bit DTS-HD 5.1 option is provided in Italian in addition to 24-bit Italian and English 2.0 options. The 5.1 mix spreads the score out really nicely, using the rear channels and subwoofer quite well in that regard. The 2.0 tracks obviously don’t have the same depth to them but they also sound quite good. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion here, the levels are fine. Subtitles are provided in English only.

    The main extra on the disc is a behind the scenes featurette that runs just over eleven-minutes. It’s simply an assemblage of footage shot on set showing the cast and crew at work on the project, though it does feature some amusing bits that are quite humorous to see.

    The disc also includes a trailer, menus and chapter selection options.

    Cauldron supplies a very nice embossed side-loading slipcover for this release, as well as some very nice reversible cover sleeve art. Included inside the clear Blu-ray case is the film’s soundtrack included on CD, which is a really nice touch given how solid the music used in the film is. Also included in the case are some faux-lobby cards and a track listing for the CD.

    Abrakadabra – The Final Word Review:

    Abrakadabra isn’t an exercise in unyielding suspense but it is a visually mesmerizing film with a fantastic soundtrack and a couple of hyper-stylized murder set pieces, which makes it a picture worth checking out. The Blu-ray release of Cauldron Films is a strong one, giving the film a great presentation and a few nice extra features as well.

    Click on the images below for full sized Abrakadabra Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Lalala76's Avatar
      Lalala76 -
      Really enjoyed this. The Onettis are getting better at it, and it's easily the best of the three. If only they could spend a little more on fleshing out the narrative and character development, and I think they could be on to a real winner at some point. As it Stands this one is worth owning and merits repeat views.
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      I hadn't noticed this yet. Definitely have to check it out.