2012’s ABC’S OF DEATH was an interesting venture. Taking 26 directors and assigning each of them a different letter of the alphabet and letting them have at it might have seemed like a good idea (and to some it was), but it ended up falling somewhere closer to a misfire than a hit. Sure, there were great entries like Marcel Sarmiento’s “D is for Dogfight” and “U is for Unearthed” directed by KILL LIST director Ben Wheatley, but for every one of those, there were segments like “F is for Fart“. The premise of the anthology was an interesting one, but it just didn’t amount of a very even film. When it was announced that THE ABC’S OF DEATH 2 would be soon coming, the exact word that came from a good amount of peoples’ mouths was “Oh.” With a new roster of filmmakers including E.L. KATZ, Erik Matti, Jen and Sylvia Soska and various others, it seemed like maybe the second film might offer up something interesting and different than the first, and well…it does.

Like the first film, THE ABC’S OF DEATH goes through the alphabet one letter at a time, with a wide variety of different styles, outlooks and visual stories, all told within a small amount of time. This short time is a sink or swim kind of approach, with letters “A”, “B”, “C”, and “D” giving viewers four short tales that are a very solid quartet of shorts to get the viewer primed for the rest of the film. CHEAP THRILLS director Evan Katz’ “A is for Amateur” is the perfect way to open the film, with a bloody time, followed by THE MIGHTY BOOSH’s Julian Barratt’s “B is for Badger” and its light, very funny change of pace.

The segments that just don’t stack up to the rest are the letters “E”, “G”, “H”, “K” and a few others, including the Soska’s “T is for torture porn“. While the sisters’ various other filmmaking endeavors, DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK and AMERICAN MARY were both fun films, their segment just doesn’t really offer much, aside from a look at a casting call gone wrong.

The anthology’s biggest stand out would definitely have to be INSIDE directors Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo and their “X is for Xylophone,” a short film that like their now infamous 2007 film, is a punch to the gut in the most grotesque of ways. While their segment is gory, it doesn’t feel unnecessary like some of the other segments do. The violence and gore comes with the segment’s territory and it just shines, along with segments by Larry Fessenden, Vincenzo Natali, Marvin Kren and various others.


Split into the ones that felt like they worked and the ones that just didn’t, they would be listed as the following:

Ones that worked:

  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D
  • F
  • I
  • J
  • M
  • N
  • O
  • R
  • S
  • U
  • V
  • W
  • X

One that didn’t work as well:

  • E
  • G
  • H
  • K
  • L
  • P
  • Q
  • T
  • Y
  • Z

With more of the segments resonating and being completely entertaining this time around, I’m looking forward to seeing where the series might go, if a third film is done. The first showed promise and THE ABC’S OF DEATH 2 shows a great deal of improvement and how great some up and coming filmmakers are. Sign me up for #3!


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