Melissa Barrera and Radio Silence explain why their new meta horror movie is more Ready or Not and... The Breakfast Club than Scream

Abigail movie
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Given that they worked together on two Scream movies beforehand, it's impossible not to compare Melissa Barrera's newest horror collaboration with directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett to the Ghostface-fronted franchise. Abigail, the trio's latest, is similar in tone, too, as its characters try to make sense of the bonkers situation they've found themselves in through vampire pop culture.

In early reviews, it's been likened to titles such as The Lost Boys and From Dusk Till Dawn for obvious reasons as well, but it turns out the film, which was written by Stephen Shields and Guy Busick, was actually inspired by an unlikely cult classic: The Breakfast Club.

"The 'ensembleness' of it all was a big conversation," Gillett tells GamesRadar+. "We talked a lot about The Breakfast Club, which is one of our favorite movies of all time, and the idea of the cast of The Breakfast Club being hired to kidnap a young woman, who is then revealed to be a vampire for us was like, 'Boy, yeah, that's fucking awesome.' Like, that just seemed like such a hilarious idea for a movie."

"For us, it was like, if we felt like we've seen a particular thing before, we'd go, 'Well, how can we change this? How can we subvert the audience's expectations here?'" Bettinelli-Olpin chimes in. "'We've seen that happen in The Usual Suspects, so let's throw this twist on it. Or, you know, 'In Lost Boys this happens, so we'll do a version that you think is going that way and then it goes this way.'"

Also starring Dan Stevens, Kathryn Newton, and Alisha Weir in the titular role, Abigail sees a ragtag team of criminals discover that the young girl they've been tasked with kidnapping is actually a ballet-dancing bloodsucker. In their attempt to ditch the mission, they realize that someone has trapped them inside the manor house they were meant to keep their new fanged foe hostage in, prompting a manic, gory overnight fight for survival.

Alisha Weir as Abigail in Abigail

(Image credit: Universal)

"It's very different to Scream in a lot of ways; I think the formula is different, the mix of genres is a little more fearless," says Barrera, who plays medic 'Joey'. "It's fully going for the heist movie at the beginning, and then it fully leans into being a crazy horror-comedy. Then it's fully going for the action as well, and it's fully going for camp, but it's also very emotional and serious. It's all the things that Matt [Bettinelli-Olpin] and Tyler [Gillett] know how to do really well and it's definitely going back to their Ready or Not roots." 

Amidst all the carnage and blood (and boy, is there blood), Barrera is quick to highlight the "really beautiful" moral at the red, gooey heart of Abigail, too. "[It has] this message about showing up and being there for the people that you love, and this message about parenthood and what it means and how it can affect someone, or even derail your life."

Did working with directors she's already familiar with help put Barrera at ease on set, with 'Joey' acting as Abigail's emotional center? "I don't know if it helps me feel more confident because I'm always freaking out," she laughs. 

"But I definitely love having that shorthand and the trust in them to be like, 'Guys, I don't know what I'm doing. Can you please help me out?' Or I could be like, 'That felt wrong, I want to do another take'. It's easy, and I already know their language and I can kind of read their minds, so whenever they don't like something, I already know, before they come into the room, I'm like, 'Hi no, let's do another one.' It's so fun to work that way."

Abigail releases on April 19. For more, check out our list of the best horror movies of all time, or our guide to the most exciting upcoming horror movies heading our way. 

Amy West

I am an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things TV and film across our Total Film and SFX sections. Elsewhere, my words have been published by the likes of Digital Spy, SciFiNow, PinkNews, FANDOM, Radio Times, and Total Film magazine.