The ABCs of Death 2 (2014)

Directed By: Misc
Written By: Misc
Starring: Laurence R Harvey
  Martina Garcia
  Jen Soska
  Béatrice Dalle
The ABCs of Death 2

It was with great trepidation (not to mention, as naïve as it may have been, the littlest bit of anticipation) that I sat down to watch the sequel to 2012′s massively underwhelming The ABCs of Death – the very imaginatively named The ABCs of Death 2.

Following the same structure as its predecessor, The ABCs of Death 2 is a compilation of 26 short films from 26 different directors from around the world, each dealing with a story of death inspired by a letter of the alphabet.

Fans of the site may already know my opinions of the original (TL;DR: I didn’t enjoy it), so it may come as a surprise to admit that The ABCs of Death 2 is actually quite a lot of fun. Producers Ant Timpson and Tim League seem to have listened to a lot of the criticism that was directed towards the original, since their choices this time around are largely a lot better. Gone is the slapdash ‘let’s-try-and-shock-as-many-people-as-we-can’ attitude of the original; instead, most of the short films in this anthology are legitimately good. Whether scary, comedic, or just simply interesting, the large majority of the entries make for an entertaining watch in one way or another.

Highlights include Cheap Thrills director E L Katz‘s A is for Amateur, in which an assassin’s hit doesn’t go quite as he planned, the disgustingly visceral stop-motion film D is for Deloused, and the haunting Y is for Youth, in which a girl creatively imagines the deaths of her neglecting family.

Of course, on the other side of that coin however, there are a few stinkers – G is for Grandad, L is for Legacy, and T is for Torture Porn being a handful, the latter demonstrating once again that the Soska sisters only seem to be able to play one note – but due to the episodic nature of the film, their saving grace is that each barely reaches ten minutes, so there’s always the next one just around the corner.

The overarching framework that ties all 26 films together is a nice touch; the whole anthology is framed around a rather morbid animated pseudo-Victorian ABC schoolbook.

Unfortunately, for one reason or another, the choice of directors this time around lack the geographical diversity of the original; aside from a handful of short films, the omnibus is largely rather anglo- and americanocentric, though this is a minor gripe.

By and large, The ABCs of Death 2 is a big improvement on the original. It addresses a lot of complaints I had – though, perversely, in doing so, is a lot less bonkers because of it – and is surprisingly quite a blast to watch.

And hey, if you find yourself disagreeing, ‘Guess the Short’s Title’ makes for a pretty decent drinking game with friends.

Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

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