February 7, 2013

Review: The ABCs of Death (2013)

(aka Better Than V/H/S.)
Release Date: On VOD now, In Theaters 2/28.
Country: USA and New Zealand.
Written by: Too many to list.
Directed by: Too many to list.
Starring:  Again, far too many to list.

As the poster above states, The ABCs of Death is made up of 26 different short films, helmed by 26 different Directors. Why tell you that info when the aforementioned poster already has? It just feels disingenuous to assume that every last person will read the small print on a poster, that's why.

Anywho, most of the 26 Directors have a pretty solid resume behind them, and their contributions to this movie are all crazy and wildly different. Even the contributions that suck are pretty unique and creative, so at least there's that.

In fact, so unique were some of the entries, that I was able to tell who directed a few of these without even knowing they were involved in the film to begin with. For example, I knew O for Orgasm was helmed by the same chick that gave us Amer, because of the color schemes and its Giallo feel. Point is, that each Director brought their trademark vision and skill to the table here, and it shows. Not every entry was good, but it still shows.

Since this is a really different type of movie experience, we're going to break it all down with reactions and skip plot elements. Each part that makes up the whole should be seen without being explained beforehand, so we'll just give you a quick impression for each vignette.

These were the standout segments for us. The ones that made the movie worth it. 

A Is for Apocalypse- Pretty good entry from the Director of Timecrimes. I like his style.

It's always good to open  a movie with a crazy bitch brandishing a bloody a knife.
B Is for Bigfoot- I don't know why I liked this one (maybe the naked boobs), but it was simple and fun.

D Is for Dogfight- The absolute best part of the entire movie, Dogfight is a little slice of brilliance. I will buy this movie on Blu-ray the day of its release, just so that I can watch Dogfight in HD, at my leisure. Nice job, Marcel Sarmiento, nice fucking job.

Rex is NOT a happy boy.
I is for Ingrown- We loved We Are What We Are, and Jorge Michel Grau's segment here was every bit as captivating and raw.

L is for Libido- Most definitely the hardest segment for me to watch, but damn if it wasn't effective as hell. It seriously gave me the creeps at one point, because it totally went there.

Yes. That is a jack-off competition. Yeah.
N is for Nuptials- This one was funny, and fun to watch. We've been a fan of Banjong Pisanthanakun since 4bia, and he delivers a lighter, yet enjoyable segment here.

O is for Orgasm- Amer was interesting and had a crazy visual style, and this segment was very, very reminiscent of that. Subtle, yet engrossing.

I'm pretty sure that is her own orgasm raining down on her.
P Is for Pressure- It was fairly disturbing to see how the events of this movie were just no big deal to the protagonist. Pretty effective, and even hauntingly realistic.

R Is for Removed- Nowhere near as disturbing as A Serbian Film (and really, how could it be), this segment from Srdjan Spasojevic was bloody fun none the less.

V is for Vagitus- This one needs to be a full-length feature film, period. Everything about it was fantastic. A lot of work went into this short, and it shows.

This robot will kill a baby, and not even care.
Y Is for Youngbuck- This shit was creepy. Maybe the 2nd best segment of the bunch, Director Jason Eisener now has my attention.*It's interesting to note how the two most effective (IMO) installments in this Anthology both contained no dialogue, only music.

Old Man Rape really likes your hat, kid.
Not all of the segments that we have listed in this section are necessarily "bad," they just either didn't really speak to us, or they flat out annoyed us, quality notwithstanding. For this review, "The Bad" section is more like "The Meh" section.

C is for Cycle- Cycle was alright, but it wasn't much more than a surreal mind-fuck. Not my particular thing.

E is for Exterminate- Kinda cool, but underwhelming. We still love Angela Bettis though.

F is for Fart- WTF is wrong with the Japanese?

What is this I don't even.

J is for Jidai-geki- Again, WTF is wrong with the Japanese?

K is for Klutz- Animated really well, but for us it was just "meh."

Q Is for Quack- Cute, but we wanted more from Swanberg and Co.

T Is for Toilet- Awesome for a fan-submitted short, but Claymation isn't my thing at all.

Clay just can not be scary.
U Is for Unearthed- Neat concept, it just felt a bit hollow. Really clever though.

X Is for XXL- Love Xavier Gens (and how they gave him the letter "X"), but this one was just alright. I expected his segment to stand out more.

Z is for Zetsumetsu- For the last time... WTF is wrong with the Japanese?!? (*For the record, I can't stand the goofy, wacky lengths & places that a lot of Japanese Horror goes to, but that's just me.)

Then again, the Japanese do come up with some cool stuff too.
These are the segments/entries/vignettes/whatever you'd like to call them, that irked us, or pissed me off.

G is for Gravity- Very anticlimactic and vague. Didn't feel very Horror-like at all. 

H is for Hyrdo-Electric Diffusion- I'm sure plenty of peeps will love this one, but it annoyed me so much that I did my best not to watch it at full attention. Goofy shit like this is just not my thing, in any way whatsoever.

M Is for Miscarriage- The fact that THIS is what Ti West contributed to this Anthology, is in and of itself, a miscarriage. He's way better than this ridiculously pathetic and lazy shit.

S is for Speed- I've never been able to buy into, or like, movies that involve tough Suicide Girl wannabes. They almost always put me off immediately, for better or for worse.

W is for WTF?- WTF? is exactly right.

Poor little kitty.
As Anthology films go, The ABCs of Death had more hits than misses, and was a pretty fun experience overall. Some of the segments worked so well, that we wished they had been actual feature length movies, because they left us wanting more. Then again so many segment were so bad or middling, that they made us wish that the Alphabet were shorter.

Either way, The ABCs of Death is a worthwhile watch.

We suggest grabbing some beer and packing your living room with a bunch of friends, ordering this movie on VOD, and having yourselves one hell of a drunken movie night.


The ABCs of Death is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD.


In closing, we leave you with one of our favorite shorts that didn't make the cut, which is  a shame, because it's really good. Sequel, perhaps?


  1. That does look great, can't wait to see it, hope it gets a UK release soon!

  2. I love a good anthology. Thanx for recommending this. I will check it out.

  3. I watched it and some segments were rather poorly made or I wasn't able to grasp the fun part the director intended. As a whole I don't need to watch this twice.

    For me, the best were "D Is for Dogfight","L is for Libido", "V is for Vagitus" and "Y Is for Youngbuck".

    Once again, the Japanese prove that their humour is on another level than every other nation. "F is for Fart" was just as I expected right after the girl let go of a fart. "J is for Jidai-geki" was a child's prank and "Z is for Zetsumetsu" probably was ment to be offending but I wished they didn't show the revealing men's garment.

    Hitting rock bottom did "M Is for Miscarriage". This better hadn't been shot.

  4. I am a HUGE Horror fan and can take a lot...but I could only make it to "M"...I was sickened to the point that it actually pissed me off. Dogfight was done well and that was it from what I could stomach. I was expecting something different. I would like to see our directors take a stab at something like this. ("stab"...see what I did there?! haha)Like: King, De Palma, Hooper, Guillermo Del Toro (I am starting to seriously LOVE this guy), Scorsese, Craven, Carpenter, David Lynch, Romero...oh, man...just the thought...one can dream.

  5. Here is a really clever short film that is in the running this year! Hope to see it make the cut for the 2013 edition of the ABCs of Death!!