Gabriel – Welcome to the Abess

March 30, 2008

Well, I had heard about Shane Abess’s “Gabriel”, a new Aussie horror film, from genre fans and saw it this weekend. Let me say here on Idea Fix, it is extremely impressive. While the mainstream industry plods on with rubbish like Black Balloon and Esther Blueberger, real innovation and talent grows, nay thrives, at the fringes.

Gabriel is a low budget gem reeking with innovation and talent to burn. The story concerns an angel in human form (Andy Witfield) returned to Earth to battle the armies of darkness lead by Sammael (Dwayne Stevenson). With a scene stealing performance by the excellent Micheal Piccirrilli as Asmodeus (a real sleazy treat) and a couple of hot S&M style femme fatales in Samantha Noble and Eryka Heynatz, Gabriel is a well rounded horror pic in the same vein as Night Watch, Matrix and Blade.

Not dissimilar in ambition from MUFF hits Narcosys and Reign in Darkness, Gabriel succeeds extremely well in its ambition to become a cult horror flick.

This film looks like it cost around 10 to 20 million bucks to make and from what I’ve heard had a cash budget of around 200 thousand. The action scenes are very well directed and show true invention and originality.

But I’m wary a little of the overall look of many of these films… that aim for something akin to Night Watch and Matrix, etc. It could be wearing a little thin. But the kids still lap this up at the movies, so what the hell, literally. The influence of Alex Proyas Dark City, early progenitor of this Matrix look… is felt also.

But forget the derivative elements Abess and his team of cinematic rebels manage to well transcend them and create a memorable action packed devil/vampire flick. The script uses many real demon and angel names from the likes of Milton and creates a good vs evil tale involving many different characters, interactions and events. To its credit the script establishes its own mythology that could be used for sequels. The script could be a little tighter, more original and cutting edge at times but these are small issues compared to what has been achieved. There are some fun villain’s like the door pimp at a whore house, a cool bald devil who Gabriel fights first and many other demon highlights.

For his budget, Abess has developed the most advanced and ambitious Australian Devil genre picture of the past ten years or so. As I saw it on DVD this year, I’m sure to include it in my Australian top ten of 2008.

Funding bodies listen up. Give Abess a couple of million dollars immediately, for whatever he wants to do next! He will give you a film that looks like it cost 40 million and the film he makes will have a market and probably make money rather, than loose it. It will also guarantee we keep Abess working here in Australia, because OS talent scouts will soon steal him from us unless action is taken immediately to keep him here. He could be Australia’s answer to Guillermo Del Torro.


One Response to “Gabriel – Welcome to the Abess”

  1. Nice topic!
    Now i know why i keep an eye on this website so much!

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