Review: The ABCs of Death / Cert: TBC / Director: Various / Screenplay: Various / Starring: / UK Release Date: TBC
The ABCs of Death is an alphabetical anthology presented by over twenty-six genre directors from across the world. Each filmmaker was given free reign, apart from the letter they were assigned, and $5000 to create a horrible way to die. It features mostly funny skits and a few controversial and confrontational pieces that may cross the boundaries of bad taste for some. The segments vary greatly in style and level of sickness but to talk too much about them would be to give some of the fun away. Presented in the format where the short is shown before the title is revealed makes it fun to guess exactly where the director is going and what the letter will stand for.
There are a few shorts that will stick in the memory, one of our personal favourites being the incredibly witty segment from A Horrible Way To Die’s Adam Wingard & Simon Barrett, which is full of self-mockery and silly humour. Though the most amazingly silly thing on offer consisted of a windy school girl getting sucked up a woman’s bottom. Some may find it juvenile but it works in its short running time and surreal nature.
Director Nacho Vigalondo (Time Crimes) sets the bar high, delivering something cruel and comedic, and Jason Eisener’s (Hobo with a Shotgun) is bold and sickening images dripping with perversity the film delivers both delight and disgust. Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police) goes past the point of bad taste in his surreal fast paced short. Disappointing and slightly simple in content are Andrew Traucki’s (The Reef) entry, staying with his watery themes but presenting nothing new, and Ti West (The Innkeepers), who is keen to make a bloody mess but it comes across as lazy. Bruno Forzani and Helene Cattett deliver a sexy little Giallo inspired number but it doesn’t really do anything particularly different from their excellent debut feature, Amer. There is a diverse range of the brilliant and bland laid out in this anthology.
As Lee Hardcastle’s short, Toilet, is available to watch on YouTube already we won’t be ruining anything by saying it’s a very funny and disgusting Claymation about potty training backfiring, resulting in horrible consequence. The letter T had many entries from filmmakers across the world with Hardcastle being the winner of a public vote for his entry. Featuring lines such as “Danny Glover had nothing to be afraid of in Lethal Weapon 2” it’s hard not to laugh at this quick firing torrent of turds and splatter.
Special mention goes to Xavier Gens (The Divide) whose confrontational short looks at societal expectations and the pressure women are under to conform to a particular frame. Norwegian Ninja Director, Thomas Cappelen Malling really ups the visual stakes and Srdjan Spasojevic (A Serbian Film) looks at the death of film in a particularly creative way with some classic film footage in a clinical setting. There are some incredible eye-popping visuals not to be missed including a hypnotic femme fatale fox type, a vicious boxing dog, some bloody revenge, masturbation with prosthetics and body horror that will either offend or entertain.
The talented film folks flex their muscles and skills well in the anthology, some of the others simply fall back into old habits presenting nothing new or aiming to induce anger. There are a couple of ill-judged misses amongst this mostly funny and gruesome deluge of deathly skits.
Expected Rating: 8 out of 10