The ABCs of Death (2013)

Abcsofdeath.jpgEasy as 1, 2, 3

The film is divided into 26 individual chapters, each focusing on an individual letter of the alphabet with a different director at the helm. Each director was given free reign to create a short tale based on anything beginning with their assigned letter, as long as it involved death.

What this horror anthology has done is give us a unique idea for a feature film, by giving 26 different directors their own segment to write and direct around a topic of their choice. This allows them free reign to put their artistic vision across the screen, giving them more control than they would get on a feature film, and the intentions set are rather admirable.

There are a number of segments worth watching, such as D is for Dogfight, the actually funny N is for Nuptials, the meta Q is for Quack and the best of the lot, the Ben Wheatley directed U is for Unearthed. But the awful segments overwhelm and outnumber these, with Ti West's M is for Miscarriage unfortunately sticking in the mind the most. The horrendous L is for Libido really should have been cut out, while F is for Fart is a juvenile waste of time.

Someone was a little too enthusiastic on their first day

There are a number of segments which feel like they give good ideas, but the execution is problematic. X is for XXL is heartfelt and does a good job of getting it's point across, but it unfortunately keeps going, for what feels like the sake of gore. W is for WTF feels like it's trying to be meta like the aforementioned Q is for Quack, but it gets lost within it's own insanity.

The problem with any anthology film is when the bad segments far outweigh the good segments. Do you recommend that the viewer sit through numerous portions which range from forgettable to pointless, from overly violent to downright horrendous, just to watch a handful of good chapters? While a number of these segments are definitely worth watching (especially U is for Unearthed), it'd be more sensible to scout them out on Youtube rather than subjecting yourself to 2 hours of mostly bad segments.

The ABCs of Death may seem like a film worth watching for the great sounding concept, but it's ultimately a film that far outstays its welcome and shows why letting directors run free with no limitations isn't always a positive. It's an admirable idea, with some gems hidden within, but what we get as a whole is little more than vulgarity that's poorly disguised as horror and comedy.