While I have nothing against anthology-films in general, I was very sceptic about this one. 26 short films about death, each 4 minutes long? That just seemed far too short to really make an impression. Hell, I sometimes have the feeling that some movie trailers are longer than that! So pretty much from the outset, you have to lower your expectation when it comes to characters, story, and so on. Ultimately, it sounded like a movie that’s reduced to the death scenes from the “Final Destination”-series. Which didn’t sound my cup of tea at all – thus I hadn’t watched this yet. However, since they are going to show the sequel at this years /slash filmfestival, and I want to be able to compare them both, it was time to finally give it a chance.
I’m sorry to say that my reluctance was warranted. While I can enjoy a glorious kill in a horror movie as much as the next guy, I’m not the biggest splatter-fan; eg. I prefer my horror movies to offer a little bit more than just gory deaths. To be fair, “The ABCs of Death” is not a collection of one brutal, bloody death after another, and offers some originality here and there. But most of the shorts didn’t really make an impression on me. Since this review would be far too long if I wrote about each segmet individually, let’s focus on those that did leave an impression, be it good or bad. First of all: It might not be very political correct to say that, but damn… those Japanese sure are some weird dudes. One segment crazier than the other – and unfortunately those also were mostly the ones that I didn’t really like. Segmet F, for me, was the worst one by far(t), with Z not far behind. In general, some of the shorts were just too weird/surreal for me, like D, or W (aptly named “WTF!”). Since I’m also not a huge fan of toilet humor, I have to also include K in the list of shorts that I didn’t like (at least it was animated). And sometimes, the names did seem a little arbitrary (like “Apocalypse” or “Bigfoot”).
However, there also were a couple of standouts. My favorite segment was “S is for Speed”, which seemed like your typical slasher flick, but then featured a dark twist. “L is for Libido” was also great, in an extremely dark kind of way. Especially the moment when they bring in the kid really sickened me – as it should. “N is for Nuptials” was pretty much a comedy/gag, but I found it very entertaining and funny. “Q is for quack” was interesting too, with its meta-approach. “U is for unearthed” I liked because of the “first person”-perspective (even though they did that even better in “V/H/S 2”, and “X is for XXL” for its message against our obsession with beauty, and the haunting last image. And as a huge SF-fan, I also enjoyed “V is for Vagitus”. The rest, however, didn’t do anything for me, and ultimately, this anthology for me was not more, but less than the sum of its parts.
PS: Thanks to Maynard for lending me his DVD!