26 More Kills in ‘The ABCs of Death 2’

by Brian Reeves on October 31, 2014

in Print Reviews,Reviews

[Minor Rock Fist Up]

Have you ever been through a mediocre haunted house? The type where nothing is actually scary or gory enough to get your pulse up, but at the same time as you wander from room to room there’s enough going on to keep you from being totally bored. That’s a little what watching The ABCs of Death 2, showing at Alamo Drafthouse, is like.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept behind the original ABCs of Death is pretty simple. 26 different up and coming directors in horror are each given a letter of the alphabet. From there they pick a word and are given free artistic reign to make a short about that word. For example, R is for Roulette. The 26 shorts are thrown together in alphabetical order and voila, out comes the ABCs of Death.

I can honestly say that at the end of the two-hour running time of ABCs of Death 2 there were maybe 3 or 4 of the 26 shorts that I found to be really good, but I don’t think any of them were terrible. Thus my haunted-house analogy. I didn’t dislike the collection, but I was also just passing from letter to letter without much reaction either.

I can’t remember the last time I felt this neutral about a movie. And therein lies the rub, much like the original ABCs of Death, this isn’t really much of a movie. It’s such a massive collection to go through 26 letters that nothing really has the time to stand out from the other. The ABCs of Death 2 moves quickly and most of it is ultimately very forgettable, but I still find myself drawn toward its desire to be different and truly artistic in its approach.

Dark comedy, gore, animation, noir, it’s all crammed in here. That amount of sheer ambition is always going to score points with me. Look, there’s a lot of paint by numbers horror out there and any attempts to move the genre beyond jump scares and loud sound effects.

For that reason I’m going to The ABCs of Death 2 a Minor Rock Fist Up. If you’re looking for something to go see this Halloween weekend, I still say this is a better bet than Ouija or Annabelle. You won’t find all of it great, but much like the mediocre haunted house, it’s still more fun than sitting at home.

Brian loves horror movies, old-school heavy metal, and beer — not necessarily in that order. He also digs all the Nightmare on Elm Street movies and is willing to fight people who actually think the Paranormal Activity series is scary because it’s not.

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