The ABCs of Death (2012)

26 films are gathered to tell THE ABCS OF DEATH, a Horror anthology that looks at death in its many splendid forms throughout a variety of shorts from around the world. Unfortunately, THE ABCS OF DEATH is a major upset that offers fewer hits than misses. While the themes and subject matter provide viewers with a wide range of different styles, it is perhaps too varied and inconsistent to work. A quick trip to your local film festival will generate far more interest, and it is difficult to dismiss the overall lack of quality based solely on the directors' budgetary constraints. While most have put a great deal of thought and time in to their brief segments, others seem to have been burdened by the entire process.

"Apocalypse" kicks the series off with a bloody bang, then it's down hill from there. Angela Bettis' spindly short, "Exterminate," is all-too-expected. ROBOGEISHA director Noboru Iguchi delivers something that is offensively tasteless and immature in "Fart." "Gravity" sinks, but newcomer Thomas Cappelen Malling then offers the utterly fresh and original "Hyrdo-Electric Diffusion," which combines the Acme-antics of two furry creatures together with a tinge of Nazisploitation. Fast-forward to "K," and you'll get a Youtube-worthy animation about a killer shit. Timo Tjahjanto takes one of the few risks in the series to bring us "Libido," a shocking short that brings us back to the days of Pasolini's SALO. Ti West must have run with the money, since the aptly-named "Miscarriage" is a sloppy and uninspired mess. Banjong Pisanthanakun counters with a worthy piece of Horror/Comedy in "Nuptials," where a trained bird spoils the fun for its master. "Orgasm" is too artistic for its own good. "Pressure" comes off as a rushes and inadequate attempt to recreate the controversy found in A SERBIAN FILM. And then, there's "Quack." Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett bring us the one film that feels like it fits in a sharp, witty, and purely entertaining short. Srdjan Spasojevic moves for a more meaningful approach with his own take on Body Horror in "Removed." "S," "T," and "U" can best be described as "amateur," to put it nicely. Comic artist Kaare Andrews follows in the footsteps of Richard Stanley and Ridley Scott with his Cyberpunk entry entitled "Vagitus." "XXL" takes a stab at self image in Xavier Gens' bloody social commentary. Jason Eisener taps into his warped sense of humor once more in the mildly disturbing "Youngbuck." And the series comes to a close in the on-screen insanity that is "Zetsumetsu (Extinction)," taking the nuclear fallout of Post-WWII Japan to outrageous new heights as only Yoshihiro Nishimura can.

Concept outweighs execution when there is no guiding hand that is overseeing the entire production in THE ABCS OF DEATH. This experiment in Horror has generated a few noteworthy pieces, but on the whole, the anthology does not offer much replay value or staying power.

Rating: 6/10.

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