Woah! The first installment of this film series left me completely unimpressed. The concept was there, but the execution was bad. This is one of those cases where the sequel truly outshines its predecessor. The ABCs of Death 2 lived up to my expectations for the first film, and even left me hoping for a part three. If you are a fan of short horror films, this is a real must see. Each segment, even the ones of lesser quality, will be sure to entertain.
Basically, this film was just far more polished than part one. It was void of nauseating first person point of view or found footage films (with exception to V is for Vacation, if you want to be picky, which was told via facetime). Whats more, the quality of each short film was incredibly high, from a technical aspect. The effects looked good throughout, and the editing was clean. Seriously, I don’t even think it’s because my expectations were low. Even the Soska Sisters were involved in this produced. I wonder if I can be an honorary Soska Sister?
A warning: this is definitely not a movie to pick up if you aren’t completely desensitized to gore and offensive concepts. If you thought the first in the series was “too gross,” well, I’d say this one is worse. It’s no Human Centipede 2, but suffice it to say that the body horror is strong with this one. I would especially caution new or expectant mothers that there is some on child violence in the film that may leave you feeling upset. Of course, the directors know that, and that’s why they pushed the shock value in that direction.
The segments I found most memorable were as follows:
D is for Deloused by Robert Morgan
This stop motion short reminded me a lot of early Tool music videos, like Pushit and Schism, as well as the utterly uncomfortable animation of David Firth. Really, top notch dark, dirty stuff; and, supremely surreal. My favorites. I can see Jorodowsky’s Alice in Wonderland in his work as well. Robert Morgan is the artist behind the short film “The Cat With Hands,” which is another dark short film that I’ve admired for some time. He’s really someone to keep your eye on.
This particular short depicts what seems to be a detainee of some sort, who is being punished or experimented on by his captors. While strapped down to the table, our protagonist is slowly devoured by a large insect, which duplicates him, and gives him the opportunity to make a sacrifice in the form of…whatever will fit into the insect’s torso hole. The tone here is perfect. If you want to see his work, here’s a creepy but not too gory taste:
G is for Grandad by Jim Hosking
A young man discovers his grandfather has been sleeping under his bed. Enough said. This one made me laugh, and even though it was so strange, I could not look away.
J is for Jesus by Dennison Romalho
This particular short film was actually as heart breaking as it was strange. A young homosexual man is punished by his father by means of secret exorcism torture. Two men attempt to “exorcise” the young man, who is tied to a chair. Strangely, they do not look like men to the captor, but instead resemble some sort of pre-historic grub worm people. It looks like what non-users might image a bad LSD trip would be like. And, just when the stakes get their highest, the young man’s lover returns to set things right. All of this of course has some pretty heavy thematic undertones, but serves to demonstrate that “Love is the law”.
O is for Ochlocracy by Hajime Ohata
I really like that the idea for this story was just completely original (although, many shorts in this collection are). Here we see a young woman on trial for murdering zombies, after a drug has been introduced that cures them of the illness. This is a clever twist on the age old question: “if the zombie apocalypse happened, would you feel bad for murdering? Especially your loved ones?” Of course, the answer is given to us in only the way Japanese cinema can deliver.
Z is for Zygote by Chris Nash
Ever wonder what it would look like if a mother never gave birth, but her child continued to live? Find out with this masterfully executed film. (Spoiler alert: seeing the baby claim the body is the best part)
A is for Amateur
K is for Knell
M is for Masticate
V is for Vacation
W is for Wish (soooooo freaking weird. It’ll make He-Man and the Masters of the Universe fans squirm in their underoos)
X is for Xylophone
Not so great entries:
F is for Falling
L is for Legacy <—–BAD FOAM COSTUME
P is for P-P-P-P Scary (although, there’s some real Lynchian weirdness afoot here. So, still something to praise)
Seriously, don’t skip out on this one because you didn’t like the first film. I think once people got a taste of the franchise, this concept was able to get a bit of the backing it needed to take off!