[31 Days of Horror: The Final Chapter] Day 16 – ABCs of Death 2 (2014)

Director: Rodney Ascher, Julian Barratt, Robert Boocheck, Alejandro Brugues, Kristina Buozyte, Alexandre Bustillo, Larry Fessenden, Julian Gilbey, Jim Hosking, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen, E.L. Katz, Aharon Keshales, Steven Kostanski, Marvin Kren, Juan Martinez Moreno, Erik Matti, Wolfgang Matzl, Julien Maury, Robert Morgan, Chris Nash, Vincenzo Natali, Hajime Ohata, Navot Papushado, Bill Plympton, Dennison Ramalho, Todd Rohal, Jerome Sable, Bruno Samper, Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska, Soichi Umezawa

Cast: Eric Jacobus, Andy Nyman, Simon Barrett, Julian Barratt, Pat Daniel, Tristan Risk, Beatrice Dalle, Laurence R. Harvey

Screenplay: David Chirchirillo, Julian Barratt, Julian Gilbey, Robert Morgan, Alejandro Brugues, Jim Hosking, Toby Harvard, Erik Matti, Dennison Ramalho, Kristina Buozyte, Bruno Samper, Ossa Earlice, Robert Boocheck, Larry Fessenden, Hajime Ohata, Todd Rohal, Rodney Ascher, Benjamin Hessler, Juan Martinez Moreno, Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska, Vincenzo Natali, Jerome Sable, Nicholas Musurca, Jeremy Gillespie, Julien Maury, Alexandre Bustillo, Soichi Umezawa, Chris Nash

125 mins. Not Rated.

 

Who would think that The Human Centipede was part of a shared universe? Okay, take this rather lightly, but Laurence R. Harvey from The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) appears as the same character in a post-credits scene from ABCs of Death 2. Stupid, but I’m counting it.

So if you have seen The ABCs of Death, this sequel anthology should explain itself, but I’ll go through the motions with you. 26 different directors were each given a budget, a letter of the alphabet, and complete creative control to craft a short film involving death. The 26 shorts are collected here in this anthology and played in order of letter. The shorts range from horrific to comedic to disturbed to gross-out. The style ranges from found-footage to animated to traditional narrative.

Now, just like the first film, any anthology is hit-and-miss. Some of the shorts are great, some are not. The shorts in particular that I enjoyed were:

  • B is for Badger
  • I is for Invincible
  • J is for Jesus
  • M is for Masticate
  • N is for Nexus

But overall, this anthology is much better than the previous one. There are more good shorts than bad ones on display here, and the overall tone is more refined than the first one, perhaps each of the directors saw the original series and took the feedback, though I’m not saying this was a requirement.

Now, there are still bits in the film that are absolutely terrible and overtly grotesque without redemptive qualities, but that’s the brilliance of ABCs of Death 2; in five minutes, you will have an entirely new tale. Therein also lies the issue of ABCs of Death 2. The formula can wear thin when the shorts wear thin. But that’s what you accept when you see this film, and I can deal with it.

ABCs of Death 2 is a worthwhile watch, and while there were some great pieces in the original film, there are more in the sequel. If you liked the first film, you will find a lot to enjoy here. If you didn’t like the first film, I wouldn’t expect to be swayed here.

 

3/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For the anthology film The ABCs of Death, click here.

For my review of Tom Six’s The Human Centipede (First Sequence), click here.

For my review of Jen & Sylvia Soska’s American Mary, click here.

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