31 Fright Nights: Halloween 2017, Night #15 – ABCs of Death 2 (2014)

ABCs-of-death-2

Director: Various

Writer(s): Various

Studio/Distributor: Magnet Releasing

Budget: $200,000

Box Office: $7,016

Release Date: 2 October, 2014

IMDb Rating: 5.5/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 77%

UK Blu Ray release? Yes

Cast

Various – too many to mention!

Trailer

Plot According to IMDb

Another 2 chapter anthology that showcases death in all its vicious wonder and brutal beauty.

Inertia’s Insight

The horrific lesson in horror that is ABC’s of Death returns for another 26 mad, macabre and mental entries. 26 directors, 26 ways to die. Filmmakers from the broad world of horror are assigned a letter and given creative control over their entry. Fans of the first were apt to fear a second coming, particularly if any filmmakers thought of replicating F for Fart.

Fortunately, ABC’s of Death 2 steps up, with some incredible stand-out entries. The beauty of the anthology is that to appreciate the best bits, you’ve gotta watch the shit bits. It’s a mish-mash of raw talent and disturbed minds, but it’s a lot more pleasing than the first film.

The standout entry is Z is for Zygote. I would never normally encourage people to watch something on YouTube when they have the capability of buying it and thus supporting the industry, but if you’re not willing to sit through the first 25 entries to see if my recommendation rings true, then search it out.

A is for Amateur

An assassin is hired to kill a drug dealer. Entering the hotel in slick fashion and with ease, he successfully assasinates his target. At least, that’s how we first see it… What really plays out is something entirely different.

It’s a brilliant entry. The juxtaposition is both painful and funny to watch, with a genius ending. A good start to the film.

B is for Badger

A famous wildlife reporter tries to bring attention to the issues a power plant is causing to the local badger population.

The first British entry featuring the genius that is Julian Barratt, Badger is a great bit of fun where the unseen leaves a lot to the imagination.

C is for Capital Punishment

The second British entry in which old-school justice is dished out in a rural village with serious tones of The League of Gentlemen.

It’s fast-paced, with the race against time to save an innocent man taking more lives than it tries to save. It’s graphic too, which adds to its effect.

D is for Deloused

A man is strapped to a table and killed by three men. A louse replicates a copy of the man and sets about taking his revenge.

This is a fucking weird short. Animated and with no dialogue, it’s a visual feast that doesn’t make much sense but certainly makes you wince.

d_is_for_deloused.jpg

E is for Equilibrium

A woman becomes adrift on a desert island inhabited by two cave-dwelling-looking men. Soon, they start to vie for her affection.

A nice nod to Wilson from Castaway in the opening moments, this short is played out in one take. It’s a nice comment on what an uncivilised relationship would be like on a desert island, with a comical ending.

F is for Falling

An Israeli paratrooper is stuck in a tree, with a young and timid Arab boy attempting to hold his resolve and treat her as an enemy, with disastrous results for both.

It’s evidently a political commentary, and though it’s beautifully shot – it’s a bit shit.

G is for Grandad

A cocky and pompous young man lives with his Grandad, and their relationship is a little fractured to say the least.

Another British entry and the most fucked up yet, these two characters are hideous in appearance and personality. The mattress scene is one of the most messed up things I’ve ever seen, all leading to a twisted ending. Superb.

H is for Head Games

A man and woman kiss until their features become weaponised against each other.

There’s some interesting imagery but – it’s forgettable, and a bit shit.

I is for Invincible

A Filipino family has the head of the family tied to a chair. Despite their best efforts to kill her and claim their inheritance, she just keeps coming back.

Brilliantly fucked up. It’s just mad – inventive, unique, down right weird.

J is for Jesus

A young man is kidnapped at the instruction of his Father and an exorcism is attempted to rid him of his homosexuality.

It’s an interesting commentary on homosexuality and how it is still perceived, particularly in the annals of religion. The exorcism is graphic and the kidnapped man’s perception of the exorcists is creepy.

K is for Knell

There’s no real description you can give for this entry. A woman is in her apartment, looks out her window and notices a slew of violence ensuing in all of the rooms in the adjacent building as a swirling black ball hovers over it.

Then – they’re all looking over at her, as something approaches her front door and then she dies…

The imagery of the adjacent apartment building is arresting, but it’s a bit WTF?

L is for Legacy

A demon slaughters a village after a man fails to sacrifice his Prince at the request of the Queen.

Proper shit.

M is for Masticate

In slow motion, a rabid possessed-looking man runs down the street in his underwear, tearing chunks out of people before being shot dead by the Police.

The competition entry winner, this enjoyable short revels in the madness of bath salts. It’s sharp imagery and slow motion build the anticipation of the madness more than any frenetic camerawork could.

image-w1280

N is for Nexus

A man hurries to meet his girlfriend for a Halloween party, but is run down by a reckless taxi driver.

Bit shit.

O is for Ochloracy

Zombies, given lucidity thanks to a groundbreaking drug, put on trial the humans that killed them during the outbreak.

It’s an original concept, with a nice little nod to Bob from Day of the Dead.

P is for P-P-P- Scary!

Three scared prisoners face a mysterious man in the dark.

P is for Proper Shit more like. Hate it.

Q is for Questionnaire

A man takes an intelligence street on a random street, with images interspersed of his brain being transplated into a gorilla’s head.

Brilliant. Quite grotesque imagery juxtaposed with the banality of his questionnaire.

R is for Roulette

Three people, two men and one woman, dressed in gown and black tie play russian roulette in a dank basement.

A tense watch, it’s pretty clear they’re not doing this for fun. Though we don’t get to see what triggers them to gamble their last bullet, the way the game unfolds tells you everything you need to know about their unknown assailants.

S is for Split

A husband calls his wife who is home alone. As they talk on the phone, an intruder breaks into the house.

A standout effort, with maximum use of the screen in place of screen time. It’s well acted and tense, with a shocking ending.

T is for Torture Porn

A young woman is intimated and abused by a group of filmmakers during her audition, enacting her revenge at just the right time…

Classic Soska Sisters – subversive, uncomfortable to watch from start to end and just ludicrously brilliant.

U is for Utopia

An overweight and poorly dressed man walks through a shopping mall of perfect people. Realising him to be imperfect, he is incinerated by a utopian robot as the rest of them clap.

Reflecting on society’s obsession with perfection, this dystopian looks at a future that is strikingly close to becoming a reality.

V is for Vacation

On a video chat to his girlfriend from Thailand, Dylan and his friend Curt soon learn the price for crossing an old, drug-fuelled crazy prostitute.

This short is nuts. It’s a clever bit of found footage and the nudity seems to add an extra level to the barbarity of the film’s events. That, and the screams of a helpless, unseen girlfriend who watches it all happen.

W is for Wish

Two boys make a wish to be transported into the world of their favourite game, but are quickly captured by the evil that their hapless hero is supposed to defeat.

Proper shit.

X is for Xylophone

A grandmother watches over her granddaughter who plays with her xylophone. Seeming to go mad from the sound, she silences her granddaughter once and for all.

This short is proper messed up. The manic look on the grandmother’s face as the parents return home, coupled with the graphic display on the carpet, sends a shiver through your spine.

Y is for Youth

A young girl vents her frustation at her parents, which manifest and attack her parents in style.

Though a massive WTF, the visuals in this are stunning. It is seamless the way in which the range of objects bend, form and attack her parents, with a poignant meaning behind all of them.

Z for Zygote

A heavily pregnant woman is left alone by her husband, who provides her with ‘Midwife Root’ to stop the baby from being born. 13 years later and still inside her, the child is ready to be born.

Wow. Just wow. One of the most stunning short films I’ve seen in a long time. If David F. Sandberg managed to get a feature length film from his short, then Chris Nash should be turning Blumhouse red.

Not only does the film require you to suspend your disbelief without even a shred of horror, when it comes to the child being born, it becomes Cronenberg turned up to 11. It’s a shame you have to wait until the end of the film for this entry, but it’s well worth the wait.

And just when you think it can’t get anymore messed up – Papa comes home…

abcs_z_zygote

Inertia’s Ideal Score ( out of 5)

★★★

Trivia

  • The post-credit scene starring Laurence R. Harvey is part of Jen & Sylvia Soska’s segment, T is for Torture Porn
  • M is for Masticate was a competition entry winner
  • The ABC’s of Death 2.5 was released a year later, showcasing the best entries from the ‘M is for…’ competition

Quotes

MAN: Fuck yeah – I’ll do some bath salts! (M is for Masticate)


Tomorrow: Night #16 – Psycho II (1983)

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