ABCs of Death 2
Directed by Álex de la Iglesia, Rodney Ascher, Bill Plympton, Erik Matti, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen, Kristina Buozyte, Bruno Samper, Sion Sono, Vincenzo Natali, Larry Fessenden, Marcus Dunstan, Julien Maury, Alexandre Bustillo, E.L. Katz, Sylvia Soska, Jen Soska, Aharon Keshales, Navot Papushado, Julian Gilbey, Dennison Ramalho, Jerome Sable, Robert Morgan, Hajime Ohata, Sôichi Umezawa, Chris Nash, Todd Rohal, Alejandro Brugués, Julian Barratt, Jim Hosking, Robert Boocheck, Marvin Kren, Juan Martínez Moreno, Steven Kostanski and Kristina Buožytė
Taking all that was great from the first installment, ABCs OF DEATH 2 aims to be a wilder, leaner, faster paced and even more entertaining anthology this time around, with a new crop of award-winning, visionary filmmakers from around the globe.
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★★★★ review by Hollie Horror on Letterboxd
Look at that rating! I'm just as surprised&shocked as you are! The ABCs of Death 2 was definitely an improvement on the first film with far more good outweighing the bad, hell, there really weren't many vignettes in this one that I considered unwatchable, which is a big improvement on the first installment. I also really enjoyed the animation in the opening credits.
In hopes not to bore you with a play by play, I'll just list A-Z in a few different categories -
X and Y
A, C, D, I, J, N, O, Q, S, V, and Z
B, G, K, L, M, and R
THE DUMB BUT WATCHABLE:
T, U and W
E, F, H, P
I was pleasantly surprised to say the least, 2 hours flew by and I was wishing they had installments for Ø, Æ and Å.
★★★½ review by Digital Press on Letterboxd
If you’ve already seen this, what were your favorites?
For everyone else, it’s anthology time! Wow, 26 stories crammed into a single movie makes for a more uneven group than the most uneven of anthologies. Fear not! I often run random horror shorts and create homemade anthologies, so the random nature of The ABC’s of Death 2 didn’t disorientate me. Consider this if you’re deciding to watch: there is a dizzying montage of styles including black and white, animated, subtitled, split screen, comedic, futuristic and gothic. The camera types run the gamut from film to phone cam. It’s a wild ride.
I wouldn’t say any of the 26 shorts here are “bad”, and they’re all REALLY short (the runtime is padded by 12 minutes of closing credits), but as you’d expect, everyone will probably take away a few personal favorites. Here are mine.
B is for Badger - a TV crew investigates the effects of toxins on local badg... um, EX-badgers.
D is for Deloused - a weird animated short that is truly eerie, reminded me of a certain Tool video.
I is for Invincible - silly tale of a grandma whose heirs can’t collect because she won’t die.
M is for Masticate - “masticate” is a synonym of “chew”, and this is a zombie moment.
Nexus - in my top three, there’s an ironic crossword/crosswalk dynamic here. Really cool.
Q is for Questionnaire - also in my top three. Many of the best ones are the funny ones, sometimes the punch line is the title of the story at the end.
S is for Split - a DePalma-like split-screen home invasion, with a twist!
X is for Xylophone - deliciously gruesome.
Z is for Zygote - they saved the best for last, this is a brilliant bit of body horror.
If anthologies aren’t your thing, you might want to pass on this one as it’s a rapid fire assault. Fans of the genre will really enjoy it. Well, most of it, anyway. Such is the nature of anthologies.
★★★★½ review by Robin Solsjö Höglund on Letterboxd
Again, it's technically after midnight, but since I started this earlier I am going to count it towards my 31 Days of Horror.
There is one thing that has always held horror back from shining brightly, and that's innovation. Horror is a tried and true genre that has survived on clichés and endless sequels for decades, with firmly rooted traditions and neverending patterns spawning millions of subpar direct-to-DVD flicks worthy of the garbage bin. That's why I like ABCs of Death so much, it's a series that surprises you 26 times in a row for two hours, and you have no idea what is about to come around the corner.
Times are changing, and these days more than ever we are feeding on instantaneous information - quick bite-sized clips of YouTube and Vine are beginning to pulverize the weekly and monthly television format. While this is making us a lot less patient as people, it also challenges our creativity, how do you tell a story in just a few minutes (or seconds), and in the rapidly evolving media landscape, how do you hold someone's attention when it's streaking like a lightning bolt from screen to screen?
The ABCs of Death 2 is an anthology sequel with the same inspired premise: 26 directors were all assigned the same budget and had to pick a single letter from the alphabet, they then had to make a short film related to that letter, with just a single rule to obide by: it has to have something to do with death or dying. What this means for some is that it will be a completely mixed bag of all sorts of low budget craziness, and perhaps some viewers will feel that with a bigger budget and more time, they could really tell a fleshed out tale. I see it almost exactly the opposite way though.
With just a few minutes to tell your tale and dispatch someone, this film succeeds even more than the first one in being delightfully gruesome, wickedly funny and horribly offputting in the best way. It is completely pure and undiluted creativity and it grinds down to the bones, to the very essence of horror itself: the darkness within us and in our world, social parables, twisted tales, gruesomeness, bizarre outlandishness and the unpredictable nature of life, not to mention the certain outcome of death itself. Death is the only thing every living thing has incommon, and I think that's why we are so drawn to and fascinated by the macabre: nobody feels more alive and glad to be alive than when they are watching someone's skull bashed to pieces. I am happy to report that there are almost no fart jokes in this one either, so if that kept you from enjoying the first, you are welcome to join in the fun here.
While there are budgetary restraints (most notable when there's heavy use of CGI), and not every single short is as brilliant as the next, the cumulative effect of this film is a fast and unpredictable horror ride that goes for the heart and the gut immediately by skipping all the foreplay and the pretentions. Horror does not need to be politically correct, nor is this one, so you can expect that every gender, nationality, religion and situation is open for grabs. Be prepared for hardcore nudity and completely stomach-churning violence, cooked to perfection and served up fresh for your delight. Just as the first, this movie makes up for what it lacks in budget with ten times the creativity, and for once I feel like these are filmmakers that want to be right where they are, happy to tell their little stories.
The fun of these films is guessing the word as you watch the short in question, so I won't spoil any words, but my absolute favourite letters were K, Q and S.
Other great entries include A, C, F, J, M, R, U, W, X and Z.
Decent entries include B, E, I, N, O, T and V.
Less great ones include D, G and L.
And the WTF Awards this time go to H, P and Y.
★★★½ review by Daniel Rodriguez on Letterboxd
ABCs of Death 2 is an improvement for the franchise, which I hope to see again next year!
A is for Amateur - 3.5/5
B is for Badger - 2/5
C is for Capital Punishment - 3/5
D is for Deloused - 4/5
E is for Equilibrium - 1/5
F is for Falling - 2/5
G is for Grandad - 1/5
H is for Head Games - 3/5
I is for Invincible - 3/5
J is for Jesus - 3/5
K is for Knell - 4/5
L is for Legacy - 1/5
M is for Masticate - 2.5/5
N is for Nexus - 2.5/5
O is for Ochlocracy - 4/5
P is for P-P-P-P-Scary - 0.5/5
Q is for Questionnaire - 2.5/5
R is for Roullete - 3.5/5
S is for Split - 3/5
T is for Torture Porn - 3.5/5
U is for Utopia - 3.5/5
V is for Vacation - 3.5/5
W is for Wish - 3/5
X is for Xylophone - 4.5/5
Y is for Youth - 4.5/5
Z is for Zigoto - 5/5
Review in Portuguese:
★★★★ review by Jim Drew on Letterboxd
Apologies for barely remembering hardly any of the letters and what they stand for, let alone who directed which. But nevertheless as a whole this was a lot of fun.
The original film won me over despite initial misgivings and two utterly lazy segments. The experience reminded me of catching The Shooting Gallery on Channel 4 in the 90's and I had that thought once again in this sequel.
There is nothing as rotten as the worst in the first film, and the toilet humour and sexual deviancy is largely absent this time, though not completely. But in comparison.
But going in I was looking forward to seeing what some of my favourite directors featured had come up with. Steve Kostanski's segment is completely him and one of the highlights, Jen & Sylvia Soska's was ok but their Celluloid Screams Q&A afterwards with their male star Conor Sweeney was a delight. A lot of the rest of it now is a blur but I greatly enjoyed Grandad, the split-screen one, the zombie courtroom and a lot of other moments.
A big minus was waiting for Shion Sono's entry but it never appeared. Not sure what happened there.
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