"It just keeps twisting!" Stars Kevin Durand and William Catlett on Abigail

“It just keeps twisting!” Stars Kevin Durand and William Catlett on Abigail

We speak to Kevin Durand and William Catlett about their vampire movie, Abigail, and working with directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett.


Horror directing duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (also known as Radio Silence) are no strangers to flipping the genre. The pair were behind the 2019 surprise horror hit, Ready Or Not, which took the premise of a post-wedding family game into a whole new level of gore.

Now the pair are back to flip the lid once again with Abigail. “The way that it twists the genre is the fact that you have five hired badasses that are supposed to carry out this mission and then you see that it’s this 12 year old girl who’s so innocent and it just seems like an absolute cakewalk. But then it’s just shocking the turn that it takes,” says Kevin Durand, who plays one of those badasses, Peter.

Indeed, anyone who’s seen the trailer for Abigail can attest that this is no ordinary girl. She is, in fact, a vampire and the hired goons (played by a killer cast including Melissa Barrera, Dan Stevens, Kathryn Newton, William Catlett and Angus Cloud) who have ‘kidnapped’ her are now trapped in a house with her. And she likes to play with her food…

Abigail is no ordinary girl…

For Durand, he knew he had something special on his hands as soon as he read the script. “When I first started reading I was like, am I reading Reservoir Dogs right now? What is happening?” he laughs. “It just keeps twisting and turning in ways that I never expected or anticipated. I think it’s a really cool, fresh take on the [vampire] lore that we’ve had the privilege of watching in the past.”

Ah yes, the lore. Moviemakers have been depicting vampires in their movies since Nosferatu in 1922. We’ve had handsome vampires, ghoulish vampires, sparkling vampires, vampires that turn into dust, and they all have different rules to abide by. Some don’t like crucifixes or garlic or holy water. Some are vulnerable to sunlight and wooden crosses. We won’t give the game away on what Abigail (played by Alisha Weir) is vulnerable to, but considering this is Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, you can expect blood. And lots of it. 

The other element you can expect, as is also typical of their movies, is humour. And lots of that too. “It was just a really fun playful experience,” Durand says of shooting the movie. “Where you get the comedy bits in the film is where you wouldn’t normally expect comedy – when blood is splattering everywhere!”

Kevin Durand (pictured right alongside co-stars Dan Stevens and Kathryn Newton) had a great time shooting Abigail.

“One thing about the movie that works is just blending of those genres; starting out with a heist, then a little bit of a mystery, now we’re into horror, then we are dealing with some life stuff,” adds William Catlett, who plays another of the kidnappers. “Then I watched it on my own and it’s a great rewatch. It’s fun when you want to see it again and again. I remember being on set when Melissa [Barrera] had her big blood day. I’m watching from the screen and it’s just a big explosion! They’re just like kids, Matt and Tyler, laughing hard in the background. That’s when you know that you got something good.” 

Juggling heart, blood, humour, and more blood with an ensemble cast and squeezing it into a 90-minute gore fest may be a tough feat for many, but according to Durand, Radio Silence balance it well. “It’s amazing that they could walk that fine line so masterfully throughout the entire film,” he enthuses. “They really executed everything so well. The dramatic scenes where they’re just pulling at your heartstrings… It’s amazing how they can jump all over the map so beautifully. I’m just glad I’m in it. When I saw Ready Or Not, I was like ‘who are these guys?’ Luckily, a couple of years later, they called and I’m so grateful that I got to play with them!” 

Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (pictured) have blended genres with Abigail

Playful really is the word, and what Durand really wants is for audiences to feel “joy” when they’re watching the movie. 

“I want them to feel supremely entertained because that’s what I felt when I read it,” he nods. “I’m sure that this is all part of the intricate alchemy that Radio Silence created by casting the group of us, but when you read the script, you don’t understand that these characters who don’t know each other are all going to connect the way that they do. I just want people to feel like they walked away from the greatest buffet they’ve ever sat down and ate at!”

For Catlett, he’s mainly excited for people to get down to cinemas and have a good time watching a fun horror movie. “It’s rewarding that it gets people out to the movies again,” he says. “You can watch stuff on TV, but then when you can go see this it’s like oh, it was worth it. It was worth me paying the price. It was worth me inviting my friends. I had a great time. I had laughs. I thought about some things. 

“I think people are going to walk away blown away and excited.” 

Abigail is out in cinemas now