I really do like anthology films and horror is one of my favorite genres. Anthologies like Pulp Fiction, Grindhouse and Trick 'r treat are movies I can watch more than once and still enjoy. I love getting the chill that a horror movie can bring or a "did that kill just happen" or "WTF" moment. That's why when I heard about this film I knew I wanted to see it. The ABCs of Death is a wild ride that combines everything from supernatural to sci-fi, and from stop motion to psychological horror, all into one convenient package.
This will be one of my shortest summaries ever, as I don't want to give much away. To put this simply, The ABCs of Death follows the stories and thoughts of five different directors. Each director chooses (or was given) a letter of the alphabet. They chose a word or phrase that corresponds with the letter given and were assigned to make a horror short based upon that word. For example if you have letter "H", a word starting with the letter "H" is used. With no restrictions and only imagination, The ABCs of Death is an eclectic thrill ride of 26 shorts that hits almost all of horrors finest themes.
Rather than just go through and spoil all the letters, I mean you could look them up but that's beyond me at that point, I'm going to list out the good, the bad and the terrible. Each letter I'll briefly summarize the short and list and the genre of horror that accompanied it and so on. I'm using the term "horror" loosely here so please keep that in mind. There were a lot of letters in this movie I really liked. "F" is a Japanese short that involved something I could only classify as gross horror. "G" follows it up with one of the more thought provoking tale in one about a surfer's death. "J" is another Japanese short that has the comedy and "what am I watching horror." "M" is the first, almost unsettling short, and it deals with some of that real life horror anyone could almost face. "Q" is an American made short and it's a nice blend of self-aware humor and horror. "S" is a short that deals with the hallucination side of death and horror. "T" is probably the best short as you watch a gory claymation scene unfold. "W" is almost a YouTube type short that is the craziest type of death you'll see. "X" is probably the second most shocking short in dealing with the large topic of death. "Z" finally closes it out, with what else, more Japanese horror in the some of the craziest minutes you'll ever witness in your life.
From here we go to the lacking ones or ones that could've been better or were just plain odd to me. "A" was a nice-ish start to the movie that really got you into the feel of what the movie would be like. "D" is one of those shocking one that almost goes too far in it's attempts to scare you. "H" is something I audibly groaned when it started, but I can't deny that it was crazy, solid stuff. "K" is an animated short about death, while I liked the idea it fell a bit short in my eyes. See what I did there? Nevermind. "L" was a great short, edgy, bloody, and crazy Japanese. One part in this knocked it down to this notch for me. "O" shows the sexual side of death and horror, but it lacks something I can't quite put my finger on. Finally "P" is another one of those ones that's made well, but it's kind of that "really, why, well okay" type of death and horror. "B," "C," "E," "I," "N," "R," "U," "V" and "Y" I just didn't plain like and that's really all there is to it.
This is a very up and down anthology of a movie. This is mostly due to the fact that over two hours you're getting into, or disliking 26 different short films. There's a plethora of horror themes related to death in all these shorts so you can't really pin point one as being the best. Although as you've read three Japanese inspired death stories landed in my favorites and another landed in my okay list. The ABCs of Death is a very unique attempt at a tired genre that doesn't get a lot of love. While there's a lot of bad throughout and nothing too "scary", there's a lot of promise in these directors. I'm excited to see what Ant Timpson, Tim League and any director in this can come up with in the future. But in the meanwhile some of these shorts are fun to watch.