Ava Cantrell is stepping back into horror with her new starring role of Abigail in the 2023 feature film, Abigail. Cantrell played teen Diana in Shazam director David Sandberg’s 2017 Warner Bros breakout hit Lights Out. Lights Out, and the antagonist Diana are cult favorites and based upon the viral short Sandberg created that got the attention of Hollywood hotshot producer James Wan.
Cantrell started as a child actress on popular Nickelodeon shows as well as Young Sheldon. She has worked alongside comedy greats like Jason Alexander, Cheri Oteri, and Fred Willard. She has won numerous awards for her dramatic performances in films but has always been drawn to horror roles, able to bring subtle edge and malice to her characters.
The film is set in 1976, where troubled teen, Abigail and her mother move to a small Alabama town in hopes of escaping the girl’s violent past. She befriends the boy next-door, Lucas, who is mercilessly bullied by a group of kids at school. Determined to help him seek revenge, Abigail takes matters into her own hands, but quickly spirals out of control. As Lucas begins to uncover the dark and twisted nature of his new friend, things take a deadly turn. Now, he must choose between standing by her side or stopping her before it’s too late.
The trailer from Abigail is getting a lot of buzz. Cantrell’s girl-next-door quality that can turn on a dime to an evil sociopath is captivating the audiences in a sneak peek you can find here https://youtu.be/lVw95vH0WUU
Prior to the pandemic Cantrell had three projects set to film in 2020, two came to fruition including Abigail. Her other film, Twenty-Two, spread awareness on the difficult subject of the high suicide rate among veterans. The touching film earned Cantrell five best actress wins for her portrayal of US Afghan war veteran, Natalie. Twenty-Two is a heart wrenching story with the title standing for the astonishing statistic that 22 veterans commit suicide every day.
Cantrell has been an athlete from a young age starting as a competitive dancer, to avid surfer and most recently studying Muay Thai. Her athletic abilities lend her acting career extra depth as she is able to do her own stunts. Cantrell started stunt training on the set of a music video Sally in the Galaxy in 2012 and has had a passion for it ever since, helping her secure her role in Lights Out.
The martial arts training will come in handy for her upcoming lead role in a survival zombie horror movie set to begin filming this fall. Cantrell will play a lone wolf survivor searching for her family in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco.
Cantrell continues to prove herself as one of the top upcoming young actresses who possesses the versatility to tackle a wide variety of roles and bring a uniqueness to every character she plays.
Cantrell is represented by Nicole Jolley and Milton Perea at AEFH Talent and managed by Sharon Lane at Lane Management.