Review: The ABCs of Death (2012, Magnet Releasing)




Category: Anthology
Directed by:
A lot of people

Written by: A lot of people
Starring: A lot of people
Music: A lot of people
Cinematography: A lot of people

Due to the recent announcement of a sequel, I felt the need to get my ass in gear and watch this. Although I’m a big fan of Magnet Releasing, there’s been a lot of lackluster reviews of this film so I didn’t expect much, but I was pleasantly surprised. Apparently all these other horror reviewers lack a warped sense of humor. Anthology films have been making a comeback lately with releases like Chillerama, Trick r’ TreatThree…Extremes, Magnet’s own V/H/S, and the upcoming Teutonic terror trifecta German Angst. Here we are presented with a pretty unique concept for an anthology film; 26 directors from various countries are chosen (well the 26th won a contest to participate) and given a letter of the alphabet and allowed free reign to make a short about death involving whatever subject matter they choose. The only director I recognized out of the roster is Ti West, known for his full lengths The InnkeepersThe House of the Devil, and the Second Honeymoon segment from V/H/S. Ironically his segment is the shortest. Seeing that these shorts are so, well short (average 4.5 minutes), I won’t really tell you much about them, not even the name! The punchline for one is actually the title.

The shorts follow the same format: skit about death, fade to red, then we’re told the title and director. That’s where the similarities end. Other than English (and some being totally without dialogue), there are a variety of languages that these are shot in such as Japanese, Thai, Spanish, French, and I think there might have been some German in one short. Although most of them are live action there are a few animated shorts and a really cool claymation one. Even the live action shorts greatly vary in the way they are shot from one another. So there’s some serious diversity here.

Most of these shorts are humorous, and a few go for a serious horror or artistic vibe. Then there are some “what the fuck just happened” skits. It doesn’t take much time to set up a punchline so the silly segments work out better than the serious ones. The exceptions being O which had some beautiful cinematography, POV short Uwhich is just seriously twisted,  the futuristic sci-fi V (it was cheesy towards the end but still pretty solid), one of my favorite skits D, and the grisly R (although there is still some humor in there too).  Some of the segments are plain funny, but this film really pushes it’s limits with how dark the humor gets. So hopefully you’re not offended easily and have a sick, twisted sense of humor so you can appreciate this movie.

I really dig this movie, the good outweighs the bad in the end. Plenty of good gore, legitimately hilarious moments (J had me in stitches), shocking subject matter, diverse material, and some just plain weird shit that puts Tim and Eric to shame.  I definitely recommended this film, it’s a really fun watch, especially with a room full of friends.






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