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Abe

What if a robot that was programmed to love stops being loved by those around him?

2013 | 5 - 10 | Horror | Robot | Special FX | UK

Abe was programmed to love. Until recently, he had a family: he was living with them, cooking, helping them in every aspect of their lives –  it was a servile situation, but he didn’t care, because he felt loved. Then, suddenly, everything changed and his “family” stopped loving him. The lack of affection shook the robot, undermined its mechanisms. They tell him that he’s only a machine, a mere application, but he feels otherwise: he’s aware of himself and his emotions, and this situation leads him to perform horrific acts. The lack of love from the people around him is unacceptable for Abe, who begins to ‘fix’  all humans  he would like to receive attention from.

This incessant desire, this unstoppable need seem to be system bugs, but in reality they are truly human feelings. He says it himself in the beginning, men and women go on each day driven by the desire to find a mate, a bit of happiness. Why shouldn’t he do the same?

While human beings endowed with reason and conscience are able to maintain a balance in front of the rejection from others, no one taught Abe what is right and wrong, he doesn’t  have a sense of morality. If this lack of common sense would seem to be the discriminant that separates the artificial intelligence from the human,  but it’s actually quite untrue. Like any serial killer, Abe doesn’t have control over his impulses, and does everything to satisfy them. This is the idea behind the short: it is not his artificial side, but his deeply human  instincts  that make him dangerous. This is how science fiction and horror combine in a perfect way.

The character itself embodies this dichotomy: on one side he delivers an emotional monologue that would look out of plea in a play, on the other hand all his conflicting emotions are locked inside an emotionless shell, accentuated by the robot’s whose face doesn’t ever move.

The single scene, with the immobilized victim in a sterile environment, is reminiscent of those of the TV series Dexter, and it’s easy to compare the two killers. Abe  sometimes seems more human than Dexter,  and the line between natural and artificial becomes blurred.  We perceive him as equal and different while looking at listening to the robot, and this  increases the impact of this disturbing and scary horror short.

MGM has acquired the rights to “Abe“, to develop it in a feature film that is set to be directed and scripted by director Rob McLellan, who has had a brilliant career as a director of short films.

Flavia Ferrucci

Flavia Ferrucci

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