Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Film Review: The ABC's of Death (2012)

The ABCs of Death (Review)
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

The ABCs of Death is a 26-segment anthology of death. Each segment is based on a letter of the alphabet, and each segment is helmed by a different director. Each story is solely related by the theme of death, the film does not have a frame story that connects them in any other way.

The stories in The ABCs of Death are versatile. Some are horrifying, some are humorous, and some are bizarre; also, the shorts come from all around the world which adds to the variety. The film starts strong with "A for Apocalypse" which features tons of bloody and cringe-worthy gore. Ti West's "M is for Miscarriage" is an example of horrifying as it is so simple yet disturbing. Meanwhile, "F is for Fart" showcases death by fart in a bizarre yet oddly entertaining short. Xavier Gens brings a brutal, disturbing short that is reminiscent of Martyrs. You should be warned that there is some fake animal violence; "D for Dog Fight" features a man vs. dog where the dog gets punched repeatedly - it was fake and the dog didn't look like he was in pain, however; "P for Pressure" features a prostitute stepping on kittens with high heels, but not on camera as it is implied.

Occasionally, some of the stories miss their marks; so, a story that was supposed to be funny, would end up dull. Also, some of the stories felt like they tried way too hard and lasted way too long as they attempted an artsy approach, overusing slick visuals and music but failing to entertain or impress. Finally, some of the bizarre stories spiral out of control in a way that isn't interesting and overdone. The final story in particular is somewhat humorous but it may be too much for general audiences.

The acting is good. The stories are short so any real flaws don't have the opportunity to surface; some stories don't have dialogue, either, so it'd be difficult to mess that up. The special effects are fantastic. Some special effects are grade A, while others feature B-movie, old-school effects, which I also enjoy. The shooting style ranges from traditional, animation, claymation, and more. There are a few stories that shine with creative writing and direction, but many fail to rise above mediocre - some stories just feel so plain and forgettable, and the stories that are memorable are memorable for the wrong reasons. Due to the short nature of short stories, the film moves at a fast pace.

Overall, The ABCs of Death presents many unique ways to die, and it does it with spectacular special effects. However, most stories miss their targets and are completely misguided, and
some stories are completely forgettable; The ABCs of Death is a mess of an anthology. I recommend a purchase for fans of horror/comedy anthologies, and fans of special effects, a rental/stream otherwise.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, full male and female nudity and sex.

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