Its Halloween season and if you’d ‘accidentally’ watched The ABCs of Death then you’ll know what’s in store for you here. The ABCs of Death 2 is an anthology of 26 shorts from 26 Directors, each given a letter of the alphabet as inspiration for a short film involving death. I wouldn’t lie, the first was a mixed bag and its hard to concise the best ones from the worst as it was mostly overshadowed by the latter. Frankly, its a slew of shorts from directors whose visions range from smart and wicked to disturbing and outright disgusting. The ABCs Of Death 2 follows the same premise and has equal number of shorts that’d make you cringe as well as applaud to some. Make sure you have the stomach to sit through 26 shorts with chuck loads of flesh, blood, all kinda bodily fluids and an audacious amounts of gore. I am just gonna chop through the shorts A to Z and give an idea of which ones I liked, the ones that repulsed me and the ones that was not even worth the time writing these.
A is for Amateur (directed by Evan Katz)
ABCs of Death 2 starts off on a strong note. While certainly not applause worthy, Amateur is witty and smart enough to grab my attention. It also managed to bring out a few chuckles as well.
B is for Badger (directed by Julian Barratt)
With Badger, the movie takes yet another jab at humour. It has that really bad humour thing going on. Badger’s ending was definitely the good part.
C is for Capital Punishment (directed by Julian Gilbey)
Capital Punishment was a passable short. I don’t know even know why it made to the final cut. Once again, it has the kind of dark humour splattered all over it, but it didn’t work for me.
D is for Deloused (directed by Robert Morgan)
Deloused is a nightmarish animated sequence which didnt make any sense. Just because I said its animated, dont be too comfy, the emphasis is on “nightmarish”. I can understand the directors had put some thought into it but the same couldn’t be comprehended when it was visually presented. I watched it just for the sake of the art style. Be prepared to be nauseated.
E is for Equilibrium (directed by Alejandro Brugués)
The root of all evil is…NO Not money! Especially not when you are one among the two estranged on an island. Equilibrium is the most light-hearted short among the lot and making it a direct approach made it that much more effective. It was comparably funny with very less ambiguity.
F is for Falling (directed by Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado)
Falling seemed like it had juice, reflecting on Israel and Palestine issues. Aside from its political shades it was still pretty much enjoyable especially when you get to the end, you’ll know what the letter F really stands for. Hint: “F**KED!”
G is for Grandad (directed by Jim Hosking)
Up until the letter ‘F’, I’d not seen a short that could truly give a toast to ABC’s Of Death’s weirdness. Grandad marks a start though. Plainly put I didn’t like it, even with its dark humour I couldn’t digest it.
H is for Head Games (directed by Bill Plympton)
As soon as I started watching this one, it felt like Bill Plympton’s work. It felt like Bill Plmypton yes, only I wasn’t sure if he would direct it. By the end of it all though, YES it was directed by Plmypton. If you are familiar with his works you are gonna like this one even if it made no sense whatsoever.
I is for Invincible (directed by Erik Matti)
I was wondering where all those weird Japanese shorts had gone. The first ABCs of Death had plenty of those and watching Invincible it did set the tone for weird Japanese stuff, only that it wasn’t FROM a Japanese guy, it was from a Filipino director.
J is for Jesus (directed by Dennison Ramalho)
Jesus, takes homosexuality as its core topic and even if it has weird stuff, it made sense. It was slightly freaky but nothing hardcore here. I am glad that it drew a parallel with the the LGBT issues that’s so rampant these days giving it the essential ABCs Of Death twist.
K is for Knell (directed by Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper)
Knell was creepy and it would have been more enjoyable had it been concluded well. Its free to interpretation though and I guess that redeems it.
L is for Legacy (directed by Lancelot Imasuen)
Legacy is another short that made its way from the bin. It could have been replaced with any other short that starts with L, yet this atrocity it what was retained in the final cut.
M is for Masticate (directed by Robert Boocheck)
I was wondering where were all the zombies had gone. What’s a horror movie anthology without some zombies? As I sat through Masticate, I was relieved that they had not forgotten zombies but then again the ending was not what I’d expected. Thumbs up!
N is for Nexus (directed by Larry Fessenden)
Nexus comes from Larry Fessenden who’d acted in the 2011 thriller You’re Next and features a series of interconnecting events that made for a good watch. If it had a bit more depth only to make it look complex it could have easily be outstanding. You can also spot an homage to You’re Next.
O is for Ochlocracy (directed by Hajime Ohata)
This one of the lot was the more remarkable. Its hard to comprehend how the Japanese came up with something so intellectual yet made sense and was outta their usual weirdness. This short is brilliant and gives us look into the side of the zombie apocalypse that was never thought of before.
P is for P-P-P-P SCARY! (directed by Todd Rohal)
P-P-P-P SCARY! was a novel short with a wicked sense of humor. It reminded me of the Three Stooges and most likely that’s exactly what the director was really going for.
Q is for Questionnaire (directed by Rodney Ascher)
Questionnaire is a short that quickly shifts from then and now. It was mildly interesting.
R is for Roulette (directed by Marven Kren)
Roulette was pretty intense. We are left with 3 people around a table…and seemingly survivors of a War/Zombie Apocalypse and playing Russian Roulette. As with any ABCs Of Death short the ending was a shocker.
S is for Split (directed by Juan Martinez Moreno)
Split is and will be known as the best short from the series. Its stands out and keeps you tensed through out its short duration. It can seem a bit too much for certain audience but who are we kidding here? Its an ABCs Of Death short and it goes without warning how cringe-worthy it might get.
T is for Torture Porn (directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska)
From, Soska Sisters, the creators of American Mary and the soon to-be-released Painkiller Jane, comes this short. What starts off like a titillating short soon blows things to hellish proportions and gets Torture Porn a whole new definition.
U is for Utopia (directed by Vincenzo Natali)
Yet another short which reflects upon the the path our society’s headed now. How a common man would feel abandoned and looked down upon in a society saturated by posh lifestyle. A well made short having very less use of gore or tawdry stuff, Good one, I’d say!
W is for Wish (directed by Steven Kostanski)
Wish’s retro style was really good. Mocking the cartoons and toy ads of the 90’s, Wish puts you inside the world populated by action figure inspired heroes and villains alike yet in the end it goes spiraling down the wrong lane.
X is for Xylophone (directed by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo)
Xylophone stars Béatrice Dalle the lady from the widely popular French horror movie INSIDE. It was extremely uncomfortable to watch her do the stuff in INSIDE and it was still chilling to see her here in Xylophone as she built her agitation up listening to a small girl playing on a Xylohphone. We’d all know things are gonna go awry soon.
Y is for Youth (directed by Soichi Umezawa)
Youth is where you get served Japanese weirdness in plates. Its a sensible short which tells the frustrations and torment a girl goes through in her adolescent days. Add to that the Japanese presents it in the more weirdest of visuals is surely a treat, ie if you swing that way.
Z is for Zygote (directed by Chris Nash)
Zygote was very creepy and thanks to its practical effects than CG for bringing out the creepiest moments. Zygote tells the story of a woman who keeps her unborn child inside her for 13 years and what follows is one of the grotesque sequence in the whole of ABCs of Death 2. Calling it grotesque could be an overstatement as the movie’s sole motive is to shock us but when the said sequence is about a pregnant woman it makes a bit more impact.
In the end its safe to say that ABCs of Death 2 is a true sequel to the original that sticks to its roots giving us more than we’d ever asked for. It definitely has its ups and down but like most anthologies there’s something for every
body horror fan here. The ABCs Of Death 1 & 2 is a movie for someone who, for a lack of better word, “intrigued”, with Torture Porn, Splatter and Snuff film genres; and the rest should stay far far away from the same.