The ABCs of Death: Movie Review

AbcsofdeathI first saw this poster several months back and was waiting for it to be shown in the theaters but sadly, I seemed to have missed it. My brother recently brought home a DVD loaned by his officemate, and my interest was again piqued. How ambitious is this movie to combine 26 horror shorts in an anthology movie, each movie depicting a title using an assigned letter of the alphabet. All of the shorts were done by 26 different directors and the entire movie spans only 124 minutes.  I must admit that I did have my reservations but the gall of producers Ant Timpson and Tim League alone deserve high praise. In order to be fair, I will outline all of the episodes and give my two cents about each one.

A is Apocalypse
Written and Directed by: Nacho Vigalondo

Does not lack in the violence and gore department, but too short to make an impact.

B is for Bigfoot
Written and Directed by: Adrian Garcia Bogliano

For a horror story come to life, not very original, although kudos to the filmmaker for being able to insert the one boob quota despite the shortness of the film.

C is for Cycle
Written and Directed by: Ernesto Diaz Espinoza

The story had some potential but the execution was left wanting.

D is for Dogfight
Written and Directed by: Marcel Sarmiento

Very adept use of style and lighting. Dogfight manages to tell its story despite the limited time allotted.

E is for Exterminate
Written and Directed by: Angela Bettis

Very predictable.

F is for Fart
Written and Directed by: Noboru Iguchi

With a very anime approach, F for Fart delivers ridiculousness in spades and makes one hell of an entertaining episode.

G is for Gravity
Written and Directed by: Andrew Traucki

Not a big fan of shaky cam, especially when the entire short does not have anything to show for it except this. Next.

H is for Hydro Electric Diffusion
Written and Directed by: Thomas Malling

Very bad title but A for effort in terms of producing a weird yet engaging short.

I is for Ingrown
Written and Directed by: Jorge Michel Grau

I didn’t quite get the connection between the title and the short but by far, this is one of the more mature and polished entries of the lot. Good script.

J is for Jiddai-geki (Samurai Movie) 
Written and Directed by: Yûdai Yamaguchi

A bit protracted in its approach but all in all, a good one.

K is for Klutz
Written and Directed by: Anders Morgenthaler

An animated short worthy of a MAD sketch; rife with toilet humor.

L is for Libido
Written and Directed by: Timo Tjahjanto

Think Hostel for sex perverts and you will have Libido. Execution wise, not bad.

M is for Miscarriage
Written and Directed by: Ti West

No dialogue required. This short is one of the shortest of the episodes but it tells a horrific story.

N is for Nuptials
Written and Directed by: Banjong Pisanthanakun

Very funny and gruesome at the same time. I loved the bird.

O is for Orgasm 
Written and Directed by: Bruno Forzani, Héléne Cattet

Sensual and surreal but not much to go on in the horror aspect.

P is for Pressure
Written and Directed by: Simon Rumley

Makes a real attempt to get deeper into the issues of poverty and desperation but the ending does not quite make sense. Killing a cat? Really?

Q is for Quack
Written and Directed by: Adam Wingard, Simon Barrett

Starts off with director and writer bitching about getting the short end of the stick but finally coming up with an idea that does not quite work out the way they planned. One of my favorites. Very simple but with great execution despite the premise being predictable.

R is for Removed
Written and Directed by: Srdjan Spasojevic

Call me stupid but I didn’t get it. Although the cinematography for this short was excellent.

S is for Speed
Written and Directed by: Jake West

This was also one of my favorites. The grindhouse approach was awesome but it would’ve been much better if the director actually got actors who could act. I understand the low budget but at least with decent actors, the movie’s strengths will be highlighted. I loved the cut to reality. That was a money shot.

T is for Toilet
Written and Directed by: Lee Hardcastle

Yes, there was a lot of toilet inspired entries in the 26 shorts included in this film but Toilet, a short executed in Claymation glories in children’s fear of the toilet eating them up. Excellent use of the 2-3 minutes. Very entertaining.

U is for Unearthed
Written and Directed by Ben Wheatley

Also executed in documentary style footage but this one I did not mind so much, because the story kind of made up for the madness.

V is for Vagitus
Written and Directed by: Kaare Andrews

A sci fi that plays like a yoyo that alternates between editing glory and maximum cheesiness.

W is for WTF? 
Written and Directed by: Jon Schnepp

Started out like Quack but all went to sh*t with a sequence of random and incoherent scenes that in total amounted to WTF? A complete waste of time.

X is for XXL 
Written and Directed by: Xavier Gens

A French film about a women oppressed by her weight and decides to do something drastic about it. Very macabre. Exactly what a good horror should be.

Y is for Youngbuck
Written and Directed by: Jason Eisener

Helmed by the director of Hobo with a Shotgun, this short is truly sick. It inspires a feeling of disgust both psychologically and physically. I guess that’s what makes it such an effective horror piece.

Z is Zetsumetsu

A short that plays like a porno, the premise is totally out there, along with boobs, peens and a lot of girl on girl action. Not for the faint hearted. Even if it spans only five minutes tops.

All in all, I’m not quite sure if the ABCs of Death was a success or not. It was pretty lopsided all around. But it was a great opportunity for horror directors to collaborate. I just wish they had more time to work on their material or flesh them out because there were some gems in this movie. A bit rough around the edges but with potential nonetheless.

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