Thursday, October 15, 2015

Movie Review: "The ABCs of Death" (2012)

Image Source
Movie"The ABCs of Death"
Director: Various
Year: 2012
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 9 minutes

The "ABCs of Death" is a short film anthology where each short films deals with a different method of death starting with each letter of the alphabet from A to Z. This is our brief review of each from A to Z.

A is for Awesome, at least that's how the film opens with the short "Apocalypse." It starts with a woman running into a room and hacking a man's hand in half with a butcher knife. Then, she proceeds to stab him in the neck. The scene is short but very brutal, though the apocalypse happening in the background all seems like happenstance and has nothing to do with the death itself. We liked this one.

B is Bizarre, which is what the short titled "Bigfoot" is. A couple tells a little girl a bedtime story about the abominable snowman to scare her into sleeping. Yes, that's always a great idea! Fiction becomes reality when a murderer kills the couple in the manner they describe in the story as the little girl stays safe by pretending to sleep. Like "Apocalypse," none of this has anything to do with Bigfoot, thus, the aforementioned bizarre descriptor. Still, it remains effective enough.

C is for Cool Concept, which is what the short "Cycle" has. A man is repeatedly killed by his exact double only for another to appear in a never ending cycle of murder. This was one of the best shorts in the series.

D is for Deranged, which accurately describes the mind of the man who thought up "Dogfight." In an underground fight club, a man is pitted against a dog in a fight to the death. To be honest, we were rooting for the dog automatically, even though the man is not described in any way, shape or form. Was his name Michael Vick or something? There is no dialogue in the short and it has a bit of a twist ending. A decent one for sure.

E is for Eerie, which is the feeling we get while watching "Exterminate." How you feel about this short will directly correlate with your love or hate of spiders as one torments a man after man tries to kill it and fails. It bites him and then does the scariest, most unnerving thing a spider can do while the man lies asleep in his bed.....ewwwww, gross, awful, but also wholly effective, too.

F is for Funny, as in what else can it be with the title "Fart"? The first in a series of shorts by a Japanese director, a schoolgirl has crush on her female teacher. She desperately wants to sniff her teacher's farts, which are deadly stinky. This is obviously the best short of the bunch because we're teenagers. What else really needs to be said? It's unbelievably weird and yet also fittingly one of our favorites. Hilarious, deathly, gross.

G is for Go-Pro, as in it's probably what was used to film this first person found footage short entitled "Gravity." A guy drives to the beach, loads bricks in his backpack, and paddles out into the ocean on a surfboard. We're sure you can imagine what happens next and we're sure it will be more interesting than anything that wound up on screen in this short. This is the point in the film at which we began to ask ourselves, "what the hell?"

H is for Humor, which the short "Hydro Electric Diffusion" has in spades. It feels like a live action cartoon as a dog pilot watches what looks like a fox or cat stripper. This stripper turns out to be a Nazi and attempts to kill the dog in the most outrageous, over the top, convoluted way possible. It's all very much like an R-rated Looney Toons. Quite a sight to behold.

I is for Insane, which is what the killer in "Ingrown" has been driven. He takes syringe full of drain cleaner and injects it in a woman who has been tied up in a tub. This short is all kinds of disturbing and gross, and just when you think it can't get worse, the woman starts puking and scratching herself raw. All of this happens as a voice-over explains who the woman is. Very unsettling.

J is for Japan, which is where Jaidai-Geki was made. What appears to be a samurai wearing a headband whose face distorts into weird facial expressions, distracts another samurai who looks like he is performing an execution. This is very weird little short, but it's also pretty funny with a darkly humorous theme as it slowly reveals what's going on. We won't give this one away.

K is for Kooky, which is fitting for the animated short "Klutz." A woman has just finished using the bathroom, but she runs into trouble when her poop won't flush. Said poop seems to be alive as it squeaks and swims around all over the place. This turns into a battle of woman versus feces. As she vigorously tries to flush it down the toilet, the poo fights back, culminating in a gruesome climax. Again, one of the better shorts.

L is for Loathe, as in we loathed the short "Libido." We get it, director Timo Tjahjanto like to push the buttons with what they can get away with, but there's a difference between gross and 'this shouldn't have ever been made.' Men are strapped to chairs and are forced to masturbate at whatever is put in front of them or be killed. They are gradually given more extreme or disgusting situations to jerk it to and this short crosses a hard line with us as it implies the men are forced to touch themselves to a child being molested. This is the lowest of low point in anything we have seen in quite a while. I had to leave the room at one point. In the spirit of effectiveness, the director of this short attempted something truly disgusting and was obviously done by someone with a truly sick mind. This is the point at which we came very close to turning the movie off. L is definitely a letter to fast forward through if you're going to watch this anthology.

M is for Messed Up, which is what the short "Miscarriage" is. The film shows a woman dealing with a clogged toilet, and if you read the title, we really don't need to explain any further. Gross.

N is for Nefarious in the way the man cheated on his girlfriend and the way she takes revenge in "Nuptials." A man shows off his trained talking parrot and its tricks to his girlfriend, and the finale of this display is a marriage proposal. Their happiness is short lived as the parrot won't shut up and outs the man for cheating on his now fiance. This leads her to quick and bloody revenge. It was simple yet effective, and one of the better shorts of the middle portion of the movie.

O is for Odd, and that is what "Orgasm" really is. A woman sits in a chair tripping in a psychedelic manner while she receives oral sex. Like many of the other shorts, there is no dialogue and it has a lot of strange visuals, many you'd never think would show up on screen. Not a bad one, but forgettable.

P is for Poignant, which is what the director of "Pressure" is trying to be in their short. A single mother to many kids by day and a prostitute by night tries to earn enough money to buy her daughter a bike for her birthday. She also steps on a rat. Less gorerror, more real-life horror.

Q is for Quirky as "Quack" is quite quirky. The film is shot like a behind-the-scenes documentary where the director complains about getting Q in this film series. They are baffled about what to do with the letter Q in relation to death, so they decide to shoot a duck, supposedly for real. But no worries, because in the end, there is an unexpected and humorous twist. Another great short.

R is for Random, as in what happens on screen in "Removes." Doctors remove skin from a man's back, which looks like a disgusting cooked turkey. They then run that skin through a liquid and pull out developed film strips. Again, this is another short where there is is no dialogue and it's all very confusing, as well as quite bloody and gross. This patient eventually takes revenge on his doctor, but again pulls off his own skin which he rolls up and uses as a we said, random.

S is for Style, which is the kind the short "Speed"  borrows from: 70's grindhouse films, one of our favorite random genres. It has a grainy look in a desert setting. There is some action with car chase and shootouts, but again, like many of the others, ends with a twist and maybe with not the speed we were thinking of. Another pretty good one.

T is for Trippy because that's what the claymation in "Toilet" is for sure. A young boy who is being potty trained has a very vivid nightmare about the toilet being a monster that wants to eat him and his family. Once awake and needing to use the toilet, he may have to face his dream becoming a reality. This one is actually pretty fun and we like the animation style, the voices, and the overall aesthetic of the short.

U is for Underwhelmed, the feeling we got watching "Unearthed." Much like the film G, this is shot with first-person camerawork. We watch everything from the perspective of a vampire that has been tracked down by vampire hunters. The whole thing felt quite gimmicky and wasn't one of the better shorts.

V is for the Vibrant action in "Vagitus." This is a sci-fi style action horror that takes place in a future Vancouver. As part of population control, a special police force hunts down and destroys any unauthorized births, but the unauthorized baby in this story isn't quite what he seems. Oh, and there is a pretty cool robot as well. The last good short of the bunch.

W is for Weird, and that's exactly why it's titled "WTF." The short opens with a heavy metal style animation sequence. Then, much like "Quack," it jumps to a documentary style as the filmmakers debate what to do with the letter W. But, going the opposite of "Quack," they argue over the letter W's versatility. They rattle off suggestions while many crazy things happen all over the place, such as zombie clowns and many other things. It's very disjointed, and in the end we were really like WTF, even out loud. There were so many things that could have been done with not only W, but with WTF, and this is what they decided to choose?

X is for Xenodochial, something that other people were not to the protagonist of "XXL." A woman rides the subway and walks home. The entire journey, she is berated and called named by strangers ranging from ugly and fat to bitch. She is surrounded by images of skinny, beautiful women on her trip home. Once she gets there, she take some unimaginably extreme measures to lose her excess body fat. This one is pretty graphic and gory and is actually kind of disturbing to watch.

Y is Yuck as "Young Buck" is the second film is the series to imply child molestation. A child hunts and kills dear with a bow & arrow with the help of an old man. It then cuts to kids playing basketball all set to a power motivation montage song while a weird janitor, which turns out is the same old man from before, watches. He then proceeds lick the sweat of the bench where the team was sitting. We don't want to go into it much further as it's all very gross and it disturbing us even thinking about it again.

Z is for Zany, which is par for the course with all of the entires from the country of Japan, and "Zetsumetsu (Extinction)" is no different. The main male character is clearly inspired by Dr. Strangelove, but not much else is. It seems it makes comparisons between the US and Nazi Germany. A female character is attacked by another woman with giant strap-on penis, and as the two battle it out, one shoots vegetables from her vagina, which land in a pot of water, and she then pulls out a sword and starts chopping up the giant schlong with the pieces landing in the pot as well. Then, the giant penis bleeds rice and it's all made into a soup and fed to people wearing missiles on their heads. Yeah, all that just happened. Seriously, what the hell??

In the end, we wouldn't recommend "The ABCs of Death" to casual horror fans as the range of stories varies in extremity. It's the really, really bad letters that off-set any really good ones, making the film as a whole sort of a crapshoot in terms of content. We're sort of glad this review is over now.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 4.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ---%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.
Two years ago, we were watching: "The Convent"

One year ago, we were watching: "The Mist"

No comments:

Post a Comment