Monday, 20 October 2014

31 Days of Horror: ABCs of Death 2 (2014)

ABCs of Death 2 (2014)
Director: Various directors
Starring: Martina Garcia, Tristan Risk and Beatrice Dalle
Running Time: 125 min

  I have been looking forward to seeing this sequel because the ABC's of Death films are a fantastic avenue for young horror directors.  Most of the shorts showcase new talented directors that are up and coming to a larger audience.  Also, I enjoyed the first one, some of it was good, some of it was dumb and some of it was just disgusting, which isn't bad, but when 26 directors are given a letter and carte blanche in creating something terrifying, who knows what kind of twisted material you are going to get back.

  The series of shorts has a terrific animated opening credit sequence with kids playing and being mutilated.  From there, just like last time, they start with A and tell a terrible tale that accents a word that begins with that letter until they get to Z.  Each letter has a different director from someplace around the world.

  It would take far too much time to review or describe ever short because each film is unique and the only thing tying these films together is the alphabet.  However, this is a fairly decent collection of horror shorts.  Unlike some of the directors from the first film, who decided to get all artistic and existential, all of the directors here have created 26 pretty straight forward tales of terror, bloodshed and mayhem. My favourites include, Erik Matti's letter I creation, where a family tries to kill their grandmother for the inheritance money, or Hajime Ohata's O piece, which does a brilliant take on the zombie genre and I thought that Steven Kostanski's W, which takes every child's fantasy and totally crushes it was pretty cool as well.  For me though, my absolute favourite was Q by Rodney Ascher.   With an extremely difficult letter, I think the Ascher knock it out of the park with a disturbing vignette that touches on some horror tropes that have fallen to the wayside.  It's simple story but it has a great narrative and some excellent gore.
  These are just a few of my favourites, but there is a lot of talented people here who brought there take on terror to the table, like Jen and Sylvia Soska (See No Evil 2, American Mary), Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Haunter), Navot Papushado (Big Bad Wolves, Rabies) and even Academy Award nominee, Bill Plympton as an interesting piece in this.

  However, I found, like a lot of characters in these shorts, that the whole piece was a bit unbalanced.  Most of the first half, up until the letter O is mostly lighter, horror comedy stuff.  Don't get me wrong, most of the pieces were enjoyable but I would have liked to see the stories blended with the heavier horror stuff better.  It's like getting a chocolate/vanilla ice cream cone and having to eat all the vanilla before you get to the chocolate.  
  Also, some of the stories were good but didn't blow me away.  Which is expected, it's 26 short films, you're not going to dig them all but there didn't seem to be as many ironic twists of fate or memorable pieces that made you go, "Holy fuck, what was that!" and is then burned into your memory to scare you for life.  Like Timo Tjahjanto, L is for Libido, love it or hate it, you'll never forget it.  The ideas are there, and there is a lot of gore or there are some incredibly tense scenes but the some of the stories never seemed to climax properly or unfortunately at all.  Which of course, can be disappointing.

  Luckily, those pieces are in the minority and most of the films here create a very enjoyable collection of horror shorts.  The producers of this film have amassed some incredibly talented people for this film and it won't too long before you'll be watching their features and reading more about them.  This is like a glimpse into the future of horror and it doesn't look that bad.  Still scary but not bad.

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