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ABC’S OF DEATH 2 (review)


Various directors and writers

Ah yes, the horror anthology. Both a blessing and a curse to the genre, fans either love them because they actually tell awesome stories really well (TRICK OR TREAT) or, they’re disappointed because there there isn’t enough strength to hold it all together. And this is exactly what we have with the second instalment of the ABC’S OF DEATH franchise (at least it’s starting to look like a franchise). The premise? Gather 26 different directors, assign each of them a word and give them total artistic freedom to create a story with an imaginative death corresponding to their given word. In theory, this is a great idea that will showcase many different talents and styles from directors both new and seasoned. In this case however, it is the series’ ultimate undoing.

From A is for Amateur (E.L. Katz) to Z is for Zygote (the most gruesome and best of the stories, directed by Chris Nash), each short film from various directors comes in waves of good and the not go great, to the uninspired and just plain eye brow raising. There is a lot going on in each film, but very little cohesion between them all. Discovering new directors and allowing them to explore themes and ideas they may not want to turn into a feature is part of what makes the ABC’s a fun film to see with a great audience. Each segment, being so drastically different from the last, also adds to the enjoyment. But with more duds than winners this time around, there isn’t very much to get excited about. Siding more with comedy than horror, there were very few stories that offered up any thrills or scares. R is for Roulette (Marvin Kren) is a fairly standard game of Russian roulette played by three people in a basement, while J is for Jesus (Dennison Ramalho) examines religious homophobia with dire consequences.


Perhaps there is something to be said for allowing too much artistic freedom, and not offering up any sort of direction to piece the films together. While this approach worked the first time around, it has made ABC’s OF DEATH 2 an anthology that feels disconnected, and unfortunately mostly just dull.

2 sheep

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