Overview: Anthologies are hard. ABCs of Death 2 has 26 separate stories. Some are good. Some are bad. Drafthouse Films/Magnet Releasing; 2014; Not Rated; 125 Minutes.
The Good: The opening two films, A is for Amateur and B is for Badger, set a high bar for the rest of the films. They are both well-made, funny, gruesome, and clever. A puts a smile on my face just thinking about it, and B is basically Julian Barratt from The Mighty Boosh acting like a dickhead, so that’s pretty much aces with me. O is for Ochlocracy and Y is for Youth are excellent Japanese shorts. O deals with the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse when the cured zombies begin putting humans on trial for murder, and Y is the story of a teenage girl wishing all manner of creative and cruel revenges against her neglectful parents. Two that really stood out for me were R is for Roulette which was filmed in smoky black and white as a trio of Germans play a game of Russian Roulette while hiding in a cellar from…something. The other stand out, and the best of all the films, was K is for Knell. K was sublime. It felt like a rich, meaty chunk of a larger horror film and directors Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper manage to use their short time and resources to create something that feels huge. They are two names I will be keeping an eye out for.
The Bad: A few of the films. F, N, T, and U, felt inconsequential and offered nothing new. G is for Grandad was let down by some awful dialogue and terrible acting, which was a shame because it had a gross concept and a truly shocking final image. X is for Xylophone aims to shock but just doesn’t really work since it’s pretty easy to predict how it will all play out. The worst of the films was P is for P-P-P-P Scary. It was unfunny, annoying, and felt like it lasted for a week.
The Ugly: This movie is called ABCs of Death 2 so I was expecting gore. What I also received was a childbirth that lasted thirteen years, slow-motion piss-stained underpants, an animation full of cockroaches, black blood, and freakishness, along with a plethora of broken bones, ripped flesh, and hammer blows to the head. C is for Capital Punishment has a good little story and strong imagery, but a large part of the plot centres around a beheading, which, given the current state of the world, was just too hard a thing to see fictionalised.
Overall: The best thing about anthology movies is that even if a segment is bad, it’s over pretty quickly and something good will hopefully follow. ABCs of Death 2 isn’t a masterpiece, but there’s enough good stuff in here to keep you entertained and some sublime stuff in here to make you want to check out some directors you may not have heard of before.