ABC’s of Death 2
Now available on Blu-ray and DVD for home entertainment consumption is the newest anthology spawned originally from the mind of Ant Timpson, “The ABC’s of Death 2”. The film, like it’s predecessor, features 26 different directors (individual or team) and their twisted takes on death served up in bite sized chunks, each centered around a letter of the alphabet. The biggest difference between the first and second film installments is this time around though the directors were given some parameters and feedback in order to avoid any carryover and keep a more consistent flow throughout the proceedings. The result is a much more effective and cohesive experience that delivers some excellent shorts.
The film starts its barrage of death obsessed mini movies with a strong effort from “Cheap Thrills” director E.L. Katz’s take on the letter A. The film continues its solid start through Julian Barratt’s humorous take on the subject with the letter B followed by a effective morality tale from Julian Gilbey and his C is for Capital Punishment. Next is a effective trip into the bizarre from Robert Moran and E is for Equilibrium from the criminally underrated director of “Juan of the Dead” Alejandro Brugues. The co-directors of the festival hit ‘Big Bad Wolves’ deliver another well made morality tale ‘F is for Falling’ to round out the great 6 pack of opening films.
The program is not without some duds, its hard for anthology to hit 100% with VHS 2 probably being the last to come close, with the biggest offender coming in the form of P is for P-P-P-P-Scary, a long, ridiculous and spectacularly unfunny attempt at horror comedy. Bill Plympton’s slight and ineffective H is for Head Games may delight fans of his work but will likely underwhelm everyone else watching. Erik Matti’s I starts with a great premise but loses steam quickly and underperforms. The biggest disappointment comes from the amazingly talented Soska Sisters with their T is for Torture Porn, its not the worst of the bunch but Soska fans are sure to be left unsatisfied.
The other standouts are lead by Juan Martinez Moreno’s utterly brilliant S, a home invasion tale with a ingenious twist. Chris Nash amazes with his unpredictable genius punch to the gut that is Z is for Zygote, Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo rebound with their best outing by far since their masterpiece “Inside” with X is for Xylophone. Steven Kostanski of Manborg fame delivers another low budget special effects bonanza with W is for Wish. Honorable mentions also go to Vincenzo Natale’s though provoking U, Soichi Umezawa’s ode to adolescence with Y and Marvin Kren’s black and white outing R.
The DVD comes with a extensive amount of extras including making of/behind the scene short segments from letters A,C,D,E,F,I,J,L,N,O,Q,R,S,T,U,V,W,Y,and Z. Also included is a AXS TV special on the making of ABC’s of Death 2 and commentary tracks for every short in the program featuring over 26 filmmakers.
As a overall package the ABC’s of Death 2 delivers a vastly superior film experience to its predecessor and was easily the best anthology genre film of 2014. ABC’s of Death 2 proves to introduce the world to a whole crop of filmmakers to watch out for, a lot of whom they will likely be meeting for the first time. A more structured approach to creating the film has left the potential for a 3rd film in the series a welcome possibility.
4 out of 5