31 Days of Reviews: The ABC’s of Death 2 (2014)

The ABC’s of Death is an anthology type horror film where 26 directors from around the globe are given a letter from the alphabet and have to make a horror-themed short based on a word starting with that letter.

I added this movie to my list on Netflix as soon as it was available, but it took me a while to actually sit down and watch it. I’d seen the first one, and I wasn’t exactly looking forward to repeating the experience.

The thing about The ABC’s of Death is that it’s definitely an acquired taste. Most of the shorts included in the movie are meant to shock you, hopefully more than the one before it. A lot of times, it’s all blood and no substance, but that’s not the case for every short included. Some of the shorts delve into political issues, as often is the case with horror as a genre itself. Within this anthology series, some of the shorts are dull. Some of them really stand out. Others are just too hard to attempt explaining.

One thing that I will say about The ABC’s of Death 2 is that it’s put together a lot better than the first one. A lot of the shorts in the original looked like they weren’t meant to be taken seriously. The directors in this sequel definitely put their all into it. The shorts just look better. I’m also a fan of the storybook concept that was used to tie all of the shorts together. It felt a lot more creepy than the “tied together by red” concept that often seemed forced in the original. This storybook concept allows for the shorts to start and end in a way that’s organic to each individual story. Each short included is no more than 10 minutes, often 5 minutes or less.

Out of all the shorts included in this sequel, I was only really impressed by a handful. In terms of overall stand out shorts, for me, I’d point out “Xylophone” and “Utopia” because the look and feel were both very good. For being clever, I’ll point out “Questionnaire” and “Masticate” because the former actually was able to formulate a story around the letter Q (unlike last time) and the latter was a take on something that actually happened. Some of the other shorts that I liked were “Roulette,” “Split,” and “Ochlocracy (mob rule).” I will also give another honorable mention to “Zygote” for ending the anthology with a complete mind bender.

Across the internets, there are also people who enjoyed “Legacy,” “Head Games,” “Wish,” and “Deloused.” I personally couldn’t get into “Deloused” because the animation was too grotesque for my tastes.

There are several shorts that I really consider duds, but it’s minor compared to the first movie. I will also point out that I was very happy to see absolutely no toilet humor in the sequel. This is pretty massive considering that in the first movie, there were 2 animations about a toilet and an entry called “F is for Fart”

I really do like the concept behind The ABC’s of Death, but it always seems to leave a bad taste in my mouth. I suppose since most of the shorts are shocking or gory, and that’s not my personal style, it’s harder for me to get into it. At the end of the sequel, they announce that there will be a third installment in the anthology series. Perhaps the next film will be even better, learning from the mistakes of the second, just as the second learned from the first.

If you dare, you can watch the trailer below.

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