The ABCs of Death

2013

The ABCs of Death (2013)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: As is often the case with anthology films, The ABCs of Death is wildly uneven, with several legitimately scary entries and a bunch more that miss the mark.

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Twenty-six directors. Twenty-six ways to die. The ABC's OF DEATH is perhaps the most ambitious anthology film ever conceived with productions spanning fifteen countries and featuring segments directed by over two dozen of the world's leading talents in contemporary genre film. Inspired by children's educational books, the motion picture is comprised of twenty-six individual chapters; each helmed by a different director assigned a letter of the alphabet. The directors were then given free reign in choosing a word to create a story involving death. Provocative, shocking, funny and ultimately confrontational, THE ABC's OF DEATH is the definitive vision of modern horror diversity. (c) Magnolia

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Critic Reviews for The ABCs of Death

All Critics (66) | Top Critics (12)

Gives a sense of horror movie making learned by rote - at a boy's school where girls have been admitted under sufferance.

Apr 24, 2013 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

Most are exercises in sickening bad taste, with an emphasis on human bodily functions.

Mar 8, 2013 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

At its best when merging shocks with social commentary, this halting compilation improves significantly as it nears the end of the alphabet.

Mar 7, 2013 | Rating: 3/5

An enormously impressive and massively indulgent cornucopia of 26 short films from all over the world.

Mar 7, 2013 | Full Review…

It's a feast for fans of the genre and a guaranteed ordeal for everyone else.

Mar 7, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

There are just too many stories to fit into two hours - and even with fewer weak links, The ABCs of Death might have fallen short all the same.

Mar 7, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/10 | Full Review…
NPR
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The ABCs of Death

½

It is uneven like most anthologies, with segments that range from scary to funny to clever to silly - and as such, some of them are quite efficient but many are far from that, like "M Is for Miscarriage" and "Z is for Zetsumetsu", both of which stand out as particularly awful.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

26 short horror films, inspired by a different letter of the alphabet. These compilations are always hit or miss but there seem to be a higher percentage of duds in this one than expected. So many different styles, form comedy to gore to sheer WTF, that there's sure to be something to bore, annoy or offend everyone. Personal favorites were the transcendently juvenile "F for Fart" and the experimentally erotic "O for Orgasm."

Greg S
Greg S

Super Reviewer

½

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Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Was this supposed to be scary? Was this supposed to be a comedy? At the end of the day it doesn't matter, when the only thing "The ABCs of Death" turns into is an example of what happens (most of the time) when directors serve as their own writers. In my mind, going down as a tonally confused version of something out of the "Faces of Death" series, "The ABCs of Death" is a compilation of 26 short films, where the overall idea was to give 26 directors (from all over the world) each a letter of the alphabet and have them each make a short segment showcasing death using a theme which begins with their designated letter. But while we (the audience members) are lead to believe that each director has set out to work within the confines of their letter in order to bring forth something interesting, problems arise when it quickly becomes apparent how aggressively incoherent, aggressively disgusting (but not in a scary way) and just downright boring "The ABCs of Death" actually is. Much of this movie is a mixture of segments which are visually well crafted, but far too conceptually strange, segments that are meant to be funny, but are far too conceptually strange and the segments which are downright gross, and while aren't as conceptually strange, are simply nonsensical. But maybe the biggest problem here is that most of these said segments aren't scary at all. Even those directors, who came forth with the intention to scare, showcase segments of death tamer than anything you could see in an episode of "1000 Ways to Die". A Quick Heads Up: The best segment (by far) is entitled "Q is for Quack" by filmmaker Adam Wingard, who seems to be the only writer/director thinking outside of the box. But even though this is one of the funniest film shorts I've ever seen (I'm not kidding) what you have to wade through to get to it, is sadly not worth your time. Anyway, I'm sure you can find this segment on YouTube or somewhere else for free. The only other segment which rivals Wingard's film is entitled "X is for XXL", which is undoubtedly the most visually impressive and is in fact the scariest segment in this supposed horror movie. Final Thought: Maybe I was naive to think that a movie entitled "The ABCs of Death" would be scary or even have a fraction of Twilight Zone-ish sensibility, but I would be shocked if said egregious lack of scares isn't the final nail in the coffin which distractingly kills off anything good about this film experiment, as an entire piece. Written Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland Follow me on Twitter @moviesmarkus

Markus Robinson
Markus Robinson

Super Reviewer

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