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The ABCs of Death Review [2]
Posted by Joseph Lee on 03.11.2013





Directed By:
Nacho Vigalondo: A
Adrian Garcia Bogliano: B
Ernesto Diaz Espinoza: C
Marcel Sarmiento: D
Angela Bettis: E
Noboru Iguchi: F
Andrew Traucki: G
Thomas Malling: H
Jorge Michel Grau: I
Yudai Yamaguchi: J
Anders Morgenthaler: K
Timo Tjahjanto: L
Ti West: M
Banjong Pisanthanakun: N
Bruno Forzani & Hélène Cattet: O
Srdjan Spasojevic: P
Jake West: S
Lee Hardcastle: T
Ben Wheatley: U
Kaare Andrews: V
Jon Schnepp: W
Xavier Gens: X
Jason Eisner: Y
Yoshihiro Nishimura: Z

Story: 26 different directors provide 26 different horror-themed shorts all centered around death.

Trivia: The child featured on the movie poster is the son of director Kaare Andrews. He is also featured in Andrews' segment in the film.

Before watching The ABCs of Death, you should know that this film has no purpose to do anything but entertain at the most base level. It has no regard for taste or morals and is meant just to shock you into being horrified or possibly make you laugh. I'm certain it's all meant to be dark comedy, but it's hard to tell as the entire experience left me feeling numb when the 130 minute run time was finished. It's 26 stories at around five minutes each, so be prepared for a long sit if you want to see all 26 chapters at once.

As a horror fan, it's hard not to get excited about the idea of The ABCs of Death. After last year's V/H/S (and 2009's Trick 'R Treat) showed that horror anthology films can still work today, the idea of 26 different directors being given complete freedom with the goal of shocking and entertaining the audience is one that should excite a horror fan. There's so many twisted ideas that could spring up in the span of a five minute short. As it turns out, these 26 directors have a completely different idea of "twisted" than your average horror buff.

First of all, this film is admirable. The very premise on which it is based almost dooms it to the independent scene as Hollywood would never green light something like this. When you add to that the actual subject matter and presentation of some of the scenes, it's a wonder this was anything but an obscure release that was never promoted and dumped onto video shelves to try and make a quick buck. Just getting the film made and released is an admirable feat, as this is one of the most original horror films of the past ten years, bar none.

The question that should be asked is which segments, if any, work. With any anthology film you run the risk of having one or two bad stories and as the number of segments increase, the higher that risk becomes. Even anthology films with three stories (such as Three...Extremes or Trilogy of Terror) can have a bad story. However, it's rare that a film of this type is all bad, as there is usually something for everyone. That's certainly a phrase that should definitely be applied to this. There is something for everyone. While one person may hate "F is for Fart", there's probably someone else that finds it hilarious.

Personal favorite segments include the "D is for Dogfight" (which seems to be a universal favorite), "X is for XXL" and "L is for Libido". The "XXL" segment is incredibly grotesque but well-acted, while "Libido" is an example of a shock segment that works. Other good entries include the letters B (Bigfoot), S (Speed), T (Toilet), U (Unearthed) and R (removed). "R is for Removed" is enjoyable even though it didn't make any sense. They all are completely different from one another. I especially loved "T is for Toilet", because any time clay-mation is used in modern cinema it's great.

The worst segments are not the bizarre segments like "F is for Fart" or "Z is for Zetsumetsu". At least those leave an impression, however good or bad that may be. Several of these segments are completely lazy and do not seem to be attempting anything but filling out the small run time allotted to them. The worst stories include "O is for Orgasm", "Q is for Quack" "M is for Miscarriage" (sadly directed by Ti West) and "G is for Gravity". These segments are completely pointless and don't do anything remotely interesting.

The rest are hit or miss, depending on who you are. If you're a fan of Tex Avery cartoons (or if you're really into furries", maybe you'll enjoy "H is for Hydro-Electric Diffusion". If you like animation, no matter how crude, "K is for Klutz" is for you. "H" also gets a honorable mention for it's impressive special effects and make-up, tied with "V is for Vagitus". As stated, it's only when the stories don't seem to have a point other than taking up the time needed for a letter do they fail to entertain. The worst thing a film can be is boring, and it's safe to say that no one is going to be bored by "W is for WTF". Confused, maybe, but never bored.

Because of how weird and original it is, this film will develop a cult following. I'd be legitimately shocked if it didn't. This is the kind of movie that many young horror fans will likely end up discovering while browsing their local video store for something to watch on a weekend. Those in the right frame of mind will get entertained and several will forgive whatever shortcomings it may have and love it. It features a lot of fun, innovative stories but also a lot of stories that fall short. It's nothing I'd wish to see again but I can't say it was actively bad. It's heart was in the right place, and that is the entertainment of the paying customer, no matter how depraved the material gets to elicit the desired reaction. It's not what I would call a good movie, but if you're a fan of the genre, you should see it.


The 411The ABCs of Death is crude, bizarre, disturbing and brazen in its attempts to entertain. Some segments work, others do not, but the majority will leave an impression of some kind. While not something this reviewer would ever want to watch again, this is something that must be seen. For that I give it a semi-favorable rating, and recommend you catch it on either VOD or when it hits DVD in May.
 
Final Score:  6.5   [ Average ]  legend





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