The ABCs of Death

"Very Good"

The ABCs of Death Review


With 26 short segments, it's expected that this horror anthology will be hit and miss. But the experiment is an intriguing one, as the producers gave 26 filmmakers a letter of the alphabet and complete artistic freedom. The result is a mix of clever invention, pointless silliness, head-scratching indulgence and blatant misfires. Oddly, while all of them indeed deal with death, only a couple are actually creepy.

From Nacho Vigalondo's Apocalypse to Yoshihiro Nishimura's Zetsumetsu, these films are packed with black humour and grisly violence. Some are produced to a very high standard, while others look like cheesy school projects. Highlights include the mind-bendingly clever Cycle (by Chile's Ernesto Diaz Espinoza), about a guy caught in a freaky time-loop, and XXL (from France's Xavier Gens), a rather revolting commentary on super-thin models. Other viciously inventive clips include Marcel Sarmiento Dogfight, set in a deranged fight club underworld, Jorge Michel Grau's Psycho-inspired Ingrown and Ben Wheatley's Unearthed, which offers a frenetic new perspective on the vampire genre. All of these add some social relevance to their brief scenes of nastiness.

Most shorts weave comedy into the grisliness, such as the Thai short Nuptials (by Banjong Pisathanakun), which takes an amusingly awful turn. Others are more gimmicky: Exterminate (by Angela Bettis) is a witty attempt to kill a spider, while the very brief Miscarriage (by Ti West) ends on a particularly yucky gag. And some are just wrong in every way: Libido (by Indonesia's Timo Tjahjanto) is the most repulsive game show you've ever seen; Hydro-Electric Diffusion (by Norway's Thomas Cappelen Malling) features a Nazi cat tormenting an Allied dog; and Fart (by Japan's Noburu Iguchi) is an indescribably outrageous tale of apocalyptic survival.

Recurring themes include point-of-view shots, excessive gore and, ahem, toilets. And there are also two American shorts that comment on the process of making the films themselves. Several clips use animation (two are completely animated), and while most of them have memorable moments, quite a few are just too slight and random to stick in the mind. But what makes this collection worth a look is the glimpse it gives of rising-star global filmmakers who know how to freak us out in ways we can never expect. And after watching this, I want to see features from a few of them.

Rich Cline



The ABCs of Death

Facts and Figures

Genre: Horror/Suspense

Run time: 129 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th April 2013

Box Office USA: $21.7k

Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures

Production compaines: Magnet Releasing, Drafthouse Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 35%
Fresh: 23 Rotten: 42

IMDB: 4.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: , Jason Eisener, , Xavier Gens, Jorge Michel Grau, Srdjan Spasojevic

Producer: Ant Timpson, Tim League

Starring: Ingrid Bolsø Berdal as Frau Scheisse (voice), Erik Aude as Fighter, Iván González as Bobo, as Lainey, Peter Pedrero as Hooded Man, Lee Hardcastle as Dad, Lucy Clements as Lulu, Darenzia as Roxanne, Arisa Nakamura as Yoshie, Chems Dahmani as A Bad Guy, Takashi Nishina as Executioner, Hiroko Yashiki as Female Detective, Demo Tanaka as Salaryman 4, Fraser Corbett as Nezbit, Miguel Insua as Man, Je$$ica as Rice Woman, Arata Yamanaka as Government Spokesman, Eva Llorach as Woman, Greg De Cuir as Male Nurse, Seminosuke Murasugi as Dr. Strangeluv, Hozake Yamada as High School Girl A, Xavier Magot as Le tueur, Yoshio Komatsu as Man Shot in Head 1, Manon Beuchot as La femme, Joshua Diolosa as Match's Buddy, Honoka Murakami as High School Girl B, Kurumi Ochiai as Sazae-san, Sadashi Matsubayashi as Man Shot in Head 2, Katsuyuki Miyake as Salaryman 3, Tomomi Sugai as High School Girl C, Atsushi Hiroki as Man Shot in Head 3, Match as Mastectomy, Kim Richardson as Mum

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.