When THE ABCs OF DEATH 2 came out, anthology horror was already back in style. But me? I can’t get enough of it, which is odd seeing how I absolutely hated VHS 2 and VHS VIRAL (the first one we’ll discuss much later, as it is in my blu-ray collection, but it’ll take us a while to get to the letter V). So same 26 letters, 26 more shorts.
I feel like it’s worth sharing that this was not easy to watch. I was trying to watch it ondemand the day it became available, but my internet was acting up and so I couldn’t make it past ‘D’ after multiple tries. So I went to a friend’s house to watch it with him, and he was having the same problem that night. Then after we gave up, I went home to try and watch it again, but same problem. Turns out I needed to get a new wireless router, because my other was at least seven to eight years old and I guess it was just losing its oomph.
Finally when I saw the whole thing when I purchased it on blu-ray, I gotta say…not as impressed as I had hoped. All that trouble I went through to try and watch it felt like time I was cheated and could never get back. Now let me be clear, I did like it, I’m not saying it was crap. I’m just saying it wasn’t as good as the first. But let’s break it down short by short. Again, a rating of 1 to 5 and a bit of a review for each.
A is for Amateur: 4 A great way to start this sequel. A great mix of humor and gore, and finally answers the question I’ve had about every movie scene where someone is squeezing through an air duct “how does it stay that clean?”
B is for Badger: 3 Another funny/gory short. The problem I have with it is it felt too quick, even rushed. It’s hard to describe the line they didn’t cross, but they didn’t cross it.
C is for Capital Punishment: 3 Honestly, it’d be a 2, but the FX of the head being chopped off was seriously good, so I gave it a whole extra point. Other than feeling a bit heavy-handed, it’s also disorienting because you, the audience, enter the story sometime between the middle and the end. That felt sloppy.
D is for Deloused: 2 What. The. Hell? I love the stop motion it is presented in, but everything else just has me looking at the screen and thinking “What the hell did I just see?” Perhaps it is for better men than me to know what this short is, and why it’s called ‘D is for Deloused’.
E is for Equilibrium: 4 Really funny, a castaway situation that plays out like a less gory opening sequence from SAW: THE FINAL CHAPTER (which is total BS as they’re talking about bringing the franchise back). The thing I really love about it though is the actual shooting of it and the craziness it must have caused for all involved. Well done, ‘E is for Equilibrium’.
F is for Falling: 3 What a bummer. Also shows a compound fracture. Very few things in a horror film scare me, but have bone jutting out of a person and I totally freak out. This one has some real good give and take, and the script is king in this short. Has a beginning, middle, and an end (of sorts).
G is for Grandad: 1 It seems like ‘G’ is cursed, because both movies have had crappy ‘G’ installments. This one is better than ‘G is for Gravity’, but not by much. It’s also highly annoying and uncomfortably sexual. I highly stress the latter.
H is for Head Games: 4 A little taste of Bill Plympton has never done anyone harm. Humorous and (for a pencil sketching) oddly grotesque. This one is simple, very simple, which works for it quite well.
I is for Invincible: 3 Now for some torture…some mom-torture, which is just as messed up as it sounds. But she’s presented as evil and immortal, so I guess it’s okay?
J is for Jesus: 5 This, for me, was the standout of THE ABCs OF DEATH 2. A story of two gay lovers, one is murdered, the other is tortured in an attempt to torture the gay away, I guess. The one undergoing de-gayification gets help from a monstrous spirit that turns out to be someone closer to him than he thought at first. This one actually made my eyes tear up. Congratulations ‘J is for Jesus’, the ability to horrify, and make one cry is not an easy thing to do.
K is for Knell: 3 Had a much larger scope than all the others, involving entire other buildings. So it was rather impressive technically. But creatively…I’ve seen this before in at least a dozen horror movies.
L is for Legacy: 1 Something about a sacrifice, a rat dies, big joke of a monster starts killing villagers. See, now you don’t have to watch it and be disappointed like I was. You’re welcome.
M is for Masticate: 5 Hilarious, ugly, and all-around awesome. My favorite part is after the carnage is over we get a brief scene that sets up everything that came before it. Brilliance!
N is for Nexus: 1 Okay, yes the title is clever when applied to all the things that meet up in a single moment at the end of this short. I know this is trivial, and should have no bearing on my liking this one or not, but the guy is really, really creeper looking, which makes me uncomfortable.
O is for Ochlocracy: 5 A cool idea, for sure. Plays out really well (sorry for being cryptic, I don’t wanna give spoilers), and is very funny. This was one of my favorites.
P is for P-P-P-P-P-Scary: 1 Nope, sorry. That is not a fair title. If the director got the letter R, it would have just been called R-R-R-R-Scary. Unimaginative, and the three main characters speaking was like claws on a chalkboard. And the villain is…a terrible dancer? Yeah, everything about this one sucks, sucks, sucks.
Q is for Questionnaire: 2 So maybe it isn’t such a good idea to always do your best is the lesson I learned from this short.
R is for Roulette: 4 A great example of what you see, isn’t always what you get. When the truth of the short starts coming about it gets infinitely awesome!
S is for Split: 5 A very interesting (if not somewhat overly-complicated) tale of revenge. I’m a fan. There is also split-screens done very well, and twists and turns along the way.
T is for Torture Porn: 2 Okay, I get where it’s going, I get the idea of what it’s trying to get across. But was all the strobe lighting necessary? I couldn’t really make out what was going on in the last half. Nevertheless, statement made.
U is for Utopia: 3 Oh to be ugly in a world of hot people, how did the main guy stay alive this long? He clearly sticks out like a sore thumb. The kids clapping at the end was hilarious, too.
V is for Vacation: 2 All done in one take, which should count for something (I gave it a whole point), it’s two guys being naughty in a foreign country and not telling one’s girlfriend. Even though we see why to never mess with a whore-mother’s whore-daughter. I still found this one to be overly long (feeling) and boring.
W is for Wish: 4 Ever wished you could go to Eternia and help He-Man out? Well, these kids did…well…with the cheap knock-off version of the He-Man toys. But even fantasies have cruel realities to them. If you don’t get burnt to a crisp, the hero will rescue you and think you’re the princess…yes, in that way. Disturbing, but hilarious.
X is for Xylophone: 4 Straight, simple, to-the-point. Xylophone bad, make xylophone stop, play with own version of xylophone.
Y is for Youth: 3 I loved the revenge fantasy aspect, and some of the visuals were great, but I didn’t get a sense of what it was all for. What was the bigger picture? Seriously, I’m asking you cuz I don’t know. I’d like to know. Post in the comments.
Z is for Zygote: 3 The de-boning of the mother was gory, well-done, and hilarious. The story is there with a beginning, middle, and end. 13 years is how many trimesters?
After all that, 11 minutes of credits, and the promise of a third offering of 26 new horror shorts. Hopefully it’s as good as the first one. This one isn’t bad, it’s just not AS good.