Death is everywhere, and although some of us try to prolong it, put it off, it is inevitable. That’s probably why it’s so fascinating and terrifying at the same time. The permanence of this state is at the forefront of drama, and as such, there has been a substantial amount of films on the subject. In 2012, 26 directors were given the chance to tell their own unique interpretation of demise, alphabetically of course, in The ABCs of Death.
The conceit of The ABCs of Death is that each director is given a letter and is tasked with creating a short film around it. The subject is entirely up to them along with the content. The result is an alphabetical anthology chronicling 26 grizzly tales of doom. Each one different from the last in theme and subject, the only unifier is the budget and length, with absolute freedom for every other aspect.
Like horror anthologies before, not all the stories are completely morose, some are comedic, some have elements of romance, some are abstract artistic pieces, some are live-action and others are animated. They have no connection to each other so if one doesn’t take your fancy, the other 25 might. Some are even downright confusing, especially towards the end of this anthology where you’ve thought you’ve seen the depths of unbridled ingenuity only to be confronted by a segment that’s bizarre premise makes everything prior seem tame. As such, I would recommend watching this collage late at night, as I did for this review, was the perfect time for it.
Of course, being an anthology, the quality varies from person to person. It’s refreshing to see some of the most creative minds being allowed to let loose creativity. But there’s a caveat that not all of these segments are going to be for everybody. In fact, due to the liberal use of gore, guts and gratuitous… gratuitousness might put the majority of the movie-going public off. But for the gore gourmands out there The ABCs of Death is a refreshing smorgasbord. Like a rawer version of the T.V. series Masters of Horror.
The ABCs of Death is a crash course in the darkest corners of the human mind and is a testament to creativity even with a micro-budget. A showcase of talent and imagination and a taster that hopefully turns people on to some of the directors’ other work. The ABCs of Death is an ambitious concept that delivers although fans of horror might be able to predict some of the twists, however, it’s always handy to brush up on the fundamentals.
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