The ABCs of Death Movie Review
Written by Karin Crighton
DVD released by Magnet Releasing
Written and directed by Kaare Andrews, Simon Barrett, Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani, Adrián García Bogliano, Lee Hardcastle, Noboru Iguchi, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Simon Rumley, Jon Schnepp, Srdjan Spasojevic, Nacho Vigalondo, Dimitrije Vojnov, Ti West, and Yudai Yamaguchi Directed by Kaare Andrews, Angela Bettis, Hélène Cattet, Ernesto Díaz Espinoza, Jason Eisener, Bruno Forzani, Adrián García Bogliano, Xavier Gens, Lee Hardcastle, Noboru Iguchi, Thomas Cappelen Malling, Jorge Michel Grau, Anders Morgenthaler, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Banjong Pisanthanakun, Simon Rumley, Marcel Sarmiento, Jon Schnepp, Srdjan Spasojevic, Timo Tjahjanto, Andrew Traucki, Nacho Vigalondo, Jake West, Ti West, Ben Wheatley, Adam Wingard, and Yudai Yamaguchi
2013, Rated R, 123 minutes
DVD released on 26 April 2013
Lots of people
Full frontal nudity.
Now that I have your attention, may I direct it to The ABCs of Death, an inspired compilation that pits directors from all over the world against one another with the challenge to come up with an interesting way to die based on the letter of the alphabet they are assigned. Such as A is for Axe Murderer, B is for Botulism, etc. Those weren’t spoilers, just ideas.
I can’t review this as an overall film in the sense of cinematography, acting, and so forth since there are 26 separate stories rolled into this movie. I will say that A and P are probably my favorites. “A is for Apolcalypse” comes from Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo. He makes a love story of a wife trying to murder her husband in a time of disaster; sweet and funny and tragic and under five minutes. “P is for Pressure” is the horror of the real world. Simon Rumley’s tale includes a lover’s betrayal, a mother’s desperation, and the innocents that suffer when life brings the worst out in us.
My least favorites are absolutely F and Z. Frankly, I never want to see “Z is for Zetsumetsu” ever again, but I still see a lot of Yoshiro Nishimura’s confusing and disgusting images when I close my eyes. I’m not sure if Noboru Iguchi got the note that farts aren’t exactly frightening, but his segment “F is for Fart” is certainly horrifying to good taste.
As a species we are fascinatingly bizarre beings. The creativity, depravity, and sheer hilarity of these ideas is awe-inspiring and deeply disturbing. Americans go for humor almost instantly; Brits enjoy horror mixed with melancholy. The Spanish balance both beautifully. Japan needs to go see a sexual therapist. Seriously. Full frontal nudity, coupled with angry shouting, ludicrous fart jokes, and murder via giant-drill-bit-screwing is pretty horrifying. Indonesia is a close second in the “What the ^(#$#(&” category. France broke my heart; the horror stemmed from the pain of the real instead of absurd.
This movie is a gift for filmmakers and anthropologists alike. It’s fascinating to switch back and forth to each vignette, seeing what frightens and arouses and amuses each creator. While I’m terrified of Japan and no longer desire to see Tokyo for fear I’ll be attacked by a female Nazi wielding an enormous inflatable penis, I’m eager to watch more films from Spain.
Check out the The ABCs of Death; it might teach you a thing or two. Or twenty-six.