The ABCs of Death
Director: Kaare Andrews, Angela Bettis, Hélène Cattet, Ernesto Díaz Espinoza, Jason Eisener, Bruno Forzani, Adrián García Bogliano, Xavier Gens, Lee Hardcastle, Noboru Iguchi, Thomas Cappelen Malling, Jorge Michel Grau, Anders Morgenthaler, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Banjong Pisanthanakun, Simon Rumley, Marcel Sarmiento, Jon Schnepp, Srdjan Spasojevic, Timo Tjahjanto, Andrew Traucki, Nacho Vigalondo, Jake West, Ti West, Ben Wheatley, Adam Wingard, Yudai Yamaguchi
Part of: /slash Filmfestival‘s Slashing Europe
[I’m saving myself from mentioning the cast as well, especially since, apart from Ingrid Bolsø Berdal there wasn’t anybody in it I knew anyway.]
The ABCs of Death is an episode movie in which 26 directors each got a letter in the alphabet to which they chose a word from which they built their story/short film.
The ABCs of Death has its good moments, but far from all episodes were my thing. There is a surprising amount of toilet humor in the movie (which I minded less than I usually do, but still) and I generally had my issues with the structure. 26 short films are a lot to take in and I would have appreciated if the movie was broken up into two parts (A-L and M-Z or something). Also, because of the alphabetic structure, they couldn’t take the mood or the pacing into consideration, so funny is followed by sadness by gore by blood by horror by funny etc. So maybe one should be watching the entire movie in short film increments.
[After the jump, I’ll talk briefly about each of the short films seperately. If you consider knowing the words already as SPOILERS, don’t read any further.]
A is for Apocalypse: I loved this one. It was fun and charming and quirky. A good start.
B is for Bigfoot: that I found mostly weird and incoherent. Not my cup of tea.
C is for Cycle: This reminded me of Timecrimes (interestingly enough it was the A-director who made that movie, not this one), though not quite as good because less elaborate.
D is for Dogfight: this was basically like a music video and it was awesome.
E is for Exterminate: Weird and not really my thing. I thought it went nowhere.
F is for Fart: The first of those films to be firmly in the toilet humor category, but it kinda managed to actually be a little awesome.
G is for Gravity: this one was short and so different from what we’ve seen before that I barely noticed what was going on, which would have been kinda cool had the pov cam not made me feel nauseous.
H is for Hydro-Electric Diffusion: Furries, strippers, Hitler, old Bond-villain worthy contraptions and clichés jumbled together to make something that is so far out there I’m not even trying to keep up with it. Really not my thing.
I is for Ingrown: I think the director was trying to make a statement here about domestic violence, but it just didn’t work out that way. [I only got that idea by the credits where he writes something about it.] Instead the movie was pretty boring, you know, for a film about a woman slowly murdered in a bathtub.
J is for Jidai-geki (Samurai Movie): This one was very silly but also funny.
K is for Klutz: Another one of the firmly toilet humory films, but also kinda fun. I just could have done without the bloody ending. The horror of the social situation would have been enough.
L is for Libido: I don’t really know what to make of this one. Competitive masturbating in a horror setting is weird. But I did enjoy it, somehow.
M is for Miscarriage: this one was really short and I had no time to really connect or think much about it at all.
N is for Nuptials: funny and sweet. Especially for a horror bit.
O is for Orgasm: a kind of impressionistic sex scene. I didn’t really get the horror context, but I did enjoy it.
P is for Pressure: ugh. Sad and way too realistic and hopeless. It was good, but it was very at odds with the rest.
Q is for Quack: meta and funny and right up my alley. Very enjoyable.
R is for Removed: I really didn’t understand what was happening in this film but I loved the idea of the skin as film thing.
S is for Speed: too many clichés for its own good. Didn’t like it at all.
T is for Toilet: I swear I already saw this one. [It’s on youtube, so I might well have.] It’s fun, but it doesn’t have me giddy with awesome.
U is for Unearthed: I liked the idea of the perspective, but not most of the actual execution.
V is for Vagitus: They crammed enoough concepts for about 3 feature films in there and in a short film, it really didn’t make much sense. Meant more confusion than anything else.
W is for WTF: A series of too loud, random, sexist images that I could barely stand, with the sudden awesome appearance of Zombie Clowns.
X is for XXL: Loved this one. A perfectly filmed critique of fat hatred that works as both a concept and “just” a horror film.
Y is for Youngbuck: The last image was awesome, but everything else left me very cold.
Z is for Zetsumetsu: sexist clusterfuck. Just because you pack your short full with symbols doesn’t make it mean anything.
Summarising: Watchable, but you’re probably better of watching the shorts one by one and maybe even skip a few.