An earnest attempt to make a retro-feeling giallo in the style of Argento or Martino, Abrakadabra is fair in most departments with its saturated colors, early ’80s styles, and a groovy score, but the movie is only 70 minutes and doesn’t really have a third act. It just ends when it’s getting good, which was very disappointing.
A stage illusionist becomes the prime suspect for some mysterious murders that hearken back to when his own father – also a magician – was killed during a performance on stage 30 years ago.
When he was just a boy, Lorenzo Manzini (German Baudino) watched as his father – a famous illusionist – was killed in an illusion gone wrong in front of an audience. His father’s assistant was blamed for the killing and was sent to prison, but 30 years later Manzini – now a famous magician himself – is haunted by the past when a woman is found graphically murdered on the stage he is set to perform on later that week. Questioned over the murder, Manzini has no idea why this happened or who the woman even is, but when he performs his show a few nights later, his performance is way off, and his illusions are a flop. Confused and upset at himself, he goes for a drink at a bar later that night and meets two women and goes home with them for some fun, but when he wakes up, one of them has been murdered, and all of a sudden he senses that someone is out to either kill him or frame him for the murder. He begins to delve into his past and find the man accused of his father’s killing, and when that man is killed by a black-gloved killer, Manzini knows that he’s in deep in a plot that will either find him viciously slaughtered at the hands of a killer … or blamed for the murders that are plaguing the city of Turin where he’s visiting. If he doesn’t come to some kind of realization quick, an intrepid detective on his trail will arrest him and it’ll be curtains for him … one way or another.
An earnest attempt to make a retro-feeling giallo in the style of Argento or Martino, Abrakadabra is fair in most departments with its saturated colors, early ’80s styles, and a groovy score, but the movie is only 70 minutes and doesn’t really have a third act. It just ends when it’s getting good, which was very disappointing. From directing team Luciano Onetti and Nicolas Onetti, who’ve made two other giallos – Francesca (which I’ve seen) and Sonno Profondo – both of which run 80 minutes or shorter. What’s with these guys? Can’t they make a film at least 90 minutes long? They have a knack for finding era appropriate faces and talent, but their movies (at least the two that I’ve seen) need more meat on their bones. Fans of the genre will enjoy them for sure, but the best way to find and retain a fan base is to deliver meat and potatoes. Not just appetizers.
Cauldron Films recently released a Blu-ray of Abrakadabra, and it comes with a bonus CD soundtrack (always a big deal to me), behind the scenes, the trailer, and Italian and English language tracks, plus subtitles.