Director: Kaare Andrews, Angela Bettis, Helene Cattet, Ernesto Diaz Espinoza, Jason Eisener, Bruno Forzani, Adrian Garcia Bogliano, Xavier Gens, Jorge Michel Grau, Lee Hardcastle, Noboru Iguchi, Thomas Cappelen Malling, Anders Morgenthaler, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Banjong Pisanthanakun, Simon Rumley, Marcel Sarmiento, Jon Schnepp, Srdjan Spasojevic, Timo Tjahjanto, Andrew Traucki, Nacho Vigalondo, Jake West, Ti West, Ben Wheatley, Adam Wingard, Yudai Yamaguchi
Cast: Pablo Guisa Koestinger, Steve Berens, Erik Aude, Lisa Lynch, Joshua Diolosa, Dallas Malloy
Screenplay: Ant Timpson, Nacho Vigalondo, Adrian Garcia Bogliano, Ernesto Diaz Espinoza, Marcel Sarmiento, Simon Rumley, Jon Schnepp, Dimitrije Vojnov, Yudai Yamaguchi, Noboru Iguchi, Simon Barrett, Ti West, Kaare Andrews, Bruno Forzani, Helene Cattet, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Srdjan Spasojevic, Lee Hardcastle
129 mins. Not Rated.
Well, now that’s out of the way, and I can begin to talk to you about The ABCs of Death. Wow, what a movie. A hell of a daunting task. Basically, 26 directors were each assigned a letter of the alphabet and told to create a short film about death that connects to a word starting with that letter. The films are then played A to Z with the film first followed by the word and letter. The directors chosen were given full creative control which was used. Oh yeah, it was used. The types of films range from the gory to the cheesy to the downright disturbing and confusing. They aren’t all winners. In fact, most of them fall flat, but the experiment is a notable one. I was absolutely disappointed with the finished product merely because many of the directors didn’t really put forth the effort and understand that they are part of a collective.
I feel like I am going to have to forgo the traditional review in lieu of timing purposes and just outline the major winners and losers here.
C is for Cycle is a winner purely because of its time-constrained uniquely bizarre tale. D is for Dogfight is absolutely incredible and likely the best short here, even if it feels out of place. L is for Libido is neither good nor bad but certainly memorable and shockingly disturbing. It kind of made me feel sick. O is for Orgasm is interesting in both its visual style and its placement in the film, and it is haunting and a little visceral. Q is for Quack is a very memorable short that really could only belong in this film as it depicts the filmmakers themselves trying to decide on a word and a short linked to the impossible Q. T is for Toilet is directed by Lee Hardcastle and was actually a winner of a contest to decide the letter T. It is an animated short about a child’s fear of the toilet and is pretty comical and creepy. U is for Unearthed is a vampire tale from the point of view of the creature. Y is for Youngbuck bothered me as well. It juxtaposed calm moments with gruesome acts and I couldn’t handle it.
Now, as far as bad goes, I would say the rest of them, but really awful to mind (F is for Fart, G is for Gravity, H is for Hydro-Electric Diffusion, K is for Klutz, P is for Pressure, Z is for Zetsumetsu) shorts appear that just disappoint and disturb without actually providing any real thrills. The cream of the crap, though, is the short M is for Miscarriage from Ti West (The House of the Devil, The Sacrament). This is a piece of shit and truly disappointing that someone who is somewhat renowned in the horror community made something as awful and unstoppably offensive as this. It was lazy as well. Not even trying to provide entertainment.
Okay, so what I am getting at here is that The ABCs of Death is definitely an interesting idea for a film, but I think inside I knew it would fail. There are just too many chances to fail here, and the bad outweigh the good. If you want my opinion, I think the film is worth viewing…once, and I mean only if you have the stomach to sit through some of the disgusting moments of the film. Warning has been given.
-Kyle A. Goethe
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