Saturday, 4 October 2014

REVIEW - ABCS OF DEATH 2 (VARIOUS DIRECTORS)


Unlike The ABCs of Death, the first in a series of anthology features comprised of 26 shorts on death, producers on ABCs of Death 2 didn't accept any fan submissions, perhaps in an attempt to weed out weaker works and create a more consistently strong film overall. If that was their intention, their attempt was in vain: ABCs of Death 2 is worse than its predecessor in every conceivable way. Most reprehensibly, the feeling of optimism that these features can foster when at their worst - that this short will soon be over and another, potentially better, will begin soon - wanes alarmingly quickly, the sensation that this is going to be a collection of bad filmmaking replacing it. Contained within ABCs of Death 2 are some of the most amateurish works of film I have had the misfortune to endure, none of which are redeemed by their clever concepts, certainly not by their bloodlust. This is a gorier film than the first, signalling a lack of invention in the concepts, a number of which bear telling resemblance to one another. Should you have the privilege (DVD chapters!), avoid 'C is for Capital Punishment', 'E is for Equilibrium', 'F is for Falling', 'G is for Grandad', 'P is for P-P-P-P Scary!', 'S is for Split' and, particularly 'L is for Legacy', which ranks as the single worst piece of cinema I can recall. Though the quality of the content is largely no better than mediocre, there are some excellent shorts to balance out the egregious ones: Bill Plympton is a welcome presence, his 'H is for Head Games' a typically brilliant shot of bilious beauty, Robert Morgan's 'D is for Deloused' is unspeakably scary, and very inventive too, 'K is for Knell' comes from the reliably-stylish Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper, 'Y is for Youth', by Umezawa Soichi, is intelligent and well-written, and the final short, Chris Nash's 'Z is for Zygote', is every bit a masterpiece. It's a sign of the poor standard of the other shorts that not even Nash's contribution can change my opinion on this film to a positive one.