The ABC's of Death Review
Horror is a genre that takes many shapes and sizes. It can shock, it can humiliate, it can deprive, it can laugh, it can cry. A cast and crew can pretty much do anything with the genre, its getting it right and promptly scary that some people get hung up on. Death is a common theme found in horror, usually the theme is directly linked to the genre. In pretty much every horror film that ever existed, at least one person loses their life by the end. Otherwise, what's the point of dipping into the genre?
"The ABC's of Death" takes death and horror and cranks it up to maximum volume and lets loose. It is a film that features 26 words, (for each letter of the alphabet, of course.) and each word is assigned to a different director. The audience learns at the very beginning of the film that each director had the creative freedom to do whatever they wanted with their particular letter. What ensues is one of the most richly diverse and richly ambitious horror films to date. After the film was finished, I felt that I just witnessed two hours worth of pure horror imagination. It was a fun ride, let me tell you!
What stuck out automatically about "The ABC's of Death" was how each corner of horror was nearly represented. There is a humor-horror segment, there's scary horror, there's experimental horror, there's gross-out horror, there's shocking horror, there's animation, there's claymation. I found it fascinating that I saw something crazy, then saw something funny, then saw something genuinely depressing within fifteen minutes of each other. The twenty six directors come from the United States, France, Mexico, and Japan, just to name a few countries. With such a diverse group of filmmakers, the movie has a very cultured feel which I really dug.
I wish I could say which actors I felt deserve a spot in the sun, but honestly, there are no big names attached to the movie. Which I don't think is a bad thing, everyone in their appropriate segment does well with the material at hand. One segment for the letter "Q" is especially neat because it features the film crew themselves, breaking the fourth wall in their own segment.
Another thing I liked was that there wasn't anything remotely predictable about most of the segments. The letter "D" is entitled "Dogfight." Right away, I thought I'd hate the segment, because I love dogs and I don't like seeing them hurt. As the segment wears on, the film makes a complete 180 and the segment ends with one of the biggest cheers from me!
Yes, there are a couple drawbacks. I felt a little annoyed that some of the words involved in the film had absolutely nothing to do with death. If you look at the film's title, you'd think each word would fit the theme. But they don't exactly. The segment for "F" is literally called "Fart" and it was the strangest segment in the whole film. That leads to another nitpick I had, nearly all of the segments are made to make you chuckle. There aren't a lot of full-blown scary segments, which kind of disappointed me. As diverse as the crew was, I would have loved to have seen more diversity in the segments.
All-in-all, I had a great time with "The ABC's of Death" and I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a fun, good time with horror tropes. I must warn though, if there are huge horror fans out there looking for a particularly scary time, I wouldn't turn to this. The entire tone of the overall film is humor, there are couple of scary spots sprinkled in, but not much. Anybody who doesn't like the horror genre could sit through this nightmare-less. That was the asset in particular I felt was missing. But it might work better for you.
FINAL GRADE: B+