Review by Michaela Neuman
Filmed throughout Alberta, and with a fully Albertan cast and crew, Abracavaders, an eight-episode web series by Numera Films, pays homage to our province through perfect set design and beautiful backdrops; from Red Deer to Drumheller, the cast and crew went everywhere they could to get the perfect shot – and it shows.
The series recently won the award for Best Web Series at the Stinger Awards, presented by the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers. It was filmed with the help of The Calgary Film Centre, Storyhive, Telus, The National Screen Institute, and Mind Engine Entertainment.
Abracavaders follows the exploits of Chris who, after his mother falls victim to a freak hair salon incident, becomes overly attached to the chair his mother died in. His best friend, Gabriel, grows concerned and hatches a plan to kidnap Chris with the help of his friends Allie, Maria and Paul.
What starts out as a simple plan to kidnap their friend turns into a journey of friends finding themselves, and learning more about one another. Together they journey out across the plains of Alberta, with the salon chair strapped down to the top of the minivan.
As their journey progresses, they learn that the salon chair gives superpowers to those close to it. What started out as a semi-innocent road trip soon turns into a bonding experience for everyone. While grappling with their new superpowers, the group continues their journey to a surprising destination.
The series pays close attention to detail, from set design to camera shots, everything is thought through and perfectly developed. The colour schemes throughout the series reminds one of Wes Anderson films, though this has a supernatural twist. Abracavaders has almost a dream-like feel; with pastel colours mixed with bright hues, it is quite a visual masterpiece. Some of my favourite details from the series was the constant of candy cigarettes, the skull masks that the characters wear, and the different coloured rotary phones. The music score throughout the series perfectly matched the mood of each scene, giving it a perfect mellow, indie vibe that matches the scenery and story to a T.
Abracadavers aims to show us that we are all on a journey, and that sometimes it’s easier to cope with super natural abilities than what’s going on in your mind. It’s a coming together story of understanding oneself and others, and it’s been wonderfully done.
Abracadavers will be released on Dec. 19 online and on Telus Optik TV.