The ABCs of Death 2 (2014)
Directed by: Aharon Keshales, Alejandro Brugues, Alexandre Bustillo, Bill Plympton, Bruno Samper, Chris Nash, Dennison Ramalho, Erik Matti, Evan Katz, Hajime Ohata, Jen Soska, Jerome Sable, Jim Hosking, Juan Martinez Moreno, Julian Barratt, Julian Gilbey, Julien Maury, Kristina Buozyte, Lancelot Imasuen, Larry Fessenden, Marvin Kren, Navot Papushado, Robert Boocheck, Robert Morgan, Rodney Ascher, Soichi Umezawa, Steven Kostanski, Sylvia Soska, Todd Rohal, Vincenzo Natali
THE ABC’S OF DEATH 2 (2014)
Following on from ABC’s of Death, THE ABC’S OF DEATH 2 showcases 26 new short horror films that deal with the subject of mortality, directed by 26 different directors.
THE ABC’S OF DEATH 2 features quite a few short films from British filmmakers such as Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh), Julian Gilbey (A Lonely Place to Die) and Jim Hosking (Renegades), as well as filmmakers from USA (Vincenzo Natali), Canada (Soska Twins) and across the globe (Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo (France), Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado (Israel)).
Like the previous outing, THE ABC’S OF DEATH 2 features an entry from the filmmaking public. Last time it was Lee Hardcastle with his splendidly traumatising T is for Toilet. For the second instalment, the letter M was open for submissions with Robert Boocheck’s M is for Masticate selected to sit alongside shorts from horror greats. Boocheck’s short film is actually one of my favourites from THE ABC’S OF DEATH 2 and made me laugh out loud at its frightening relevance in today’s society.
Though the premise is exactly the same, THE ABC’S OF DEATH 2 is world’s apart from its predecessor. THE ABC’S OF DEATH was pretty hard to watch at times with both grisly and violent films. The depravity was through the roof in certain instances and I found it very hard to watch. In THE ABC’S OF DEATH 2, the short films take on a lighter, more playful tone with most of the shorts featuring humour in some dark, twisted way (A is for Amateur, B is for Badger, among others). Some of the shorts even have something to say about the world we live in, be it politically (C is for Capital Punishment and F is for Falling) or the way in which we’re brainwashed to look a certain way to be accepted as attractive or normal (U is for Utopia). Even fans of surrealism and body horror are treated with a couple of films, one a stop-motion animation (D is for Deloused) and the other hand drawn illustration (H is for Head Games), which are both strangely captivating to watch.
As a whole, I preferTHE ABC’S OF DEATH 2 to the first because it relies more on storytelling than grotesque horror. The first had a gem every now and again whereas this instalment has more hits than fails. However, because many of them are subdued in the visual horror department compared to the first, they’re a tad forgettable. The visual flair or gross ideas of some of the shorts from the first anthology are hard to get out of your mind, for better or worse, but THE ABC’S OF DEATH 2 short films seem a little bland in comparison that it’s hard to recollect them in an instance. For that reason, horror fans that are seeking thrills, blood spills and insane horror may well be disappointed with this sequel despite its stronger stories and quality consistency
THE ABC’S OF DEATH 2 is definitely worth checking out for its range of ideas on how to scare at a core level, with meaning behind the story rather than creating something fantastical just for pure shock value. It’s an easier watch, without a doubt, but no less entertaining.