The ABCs of Death

2013

The ABCs of Death

Critics 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.

38%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 69

23%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 10,629
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Movie Info

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 (69) | Top Critics (14)

  • It presents 26 disparate (read: in need of an editor) slices of dicing from 26 directors you've almost certainly never heard of (and indeed, the one you have - Ben Wheatley - feels tainted by association).

    Apr 25, 2013 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • The fans will love. The faint-hearted won't.

    Apr 25, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • 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…

    Nigel Floyd

    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…

Audience Reviews for The ABCs of Death

  • Jun 03, 2016
    I could have done without a *lot* of the entries in The ABC's of Death. Still, there is enough in here that a diehard horror fan might find something of value.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 08, 2014
    It is uneven like most anthologies, with segments ranging from scary to funny to clever and silly - and as such, some of them are quite efficient while many are far from that, like "M Is for Miscarriage" and "Z is for Zetsumetsu," both which stand out as particularly awful.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 17, 2014
    Boy, oh boy. If you thought that me not doing individual segment reviews for Creepshow 2 was bad enough, then wait until I review this. There's no way in hell that I will do an individual review for each of the 26 segments of the film, each based off one letter from the alphabet. There's a couple of reasons for that. First, I would simply be here for way too long. You don't want that and I don't want that. Secondly, and most importantly, some of these segments are so shorts that how can you really justify writing a mini-review for each and every one of them. It makes sense in a film like either VHS, since each short is given more time to develop, in comparison to this, so there's much more detail in each of them. When one of the segments, Miscarriage, lasts only 2 minutes, you can't really do a mini-review. The longest segment, I didn't time them, but I'm guessing, is only 6-7 minutes long. But I digress, now you know why I won't be going through each short individually. Considering that there are TWENTY-SIX segments in the film, you already know, then, that the film is about as mixed a bag as you can possibly have. The more shorts you have, the more chances you have that some of them are absolutely terrible. That's just how math works, too many cooks in the kitchen and all that jazz. What I like, or love rather, about the film is the sheer diversity of segments, from directors from all over the world. There's animated, claymation, slasher, found footage, crude and juvenile humor, futuristic sci-fi action, sadomasochism, time travel, poop humor, etc, etc. I don't think I'm even covering all my bases If you can imagine it, then this film probably has it. There's certainly some very gross-out moments in the film. What I will do is give you the letters of some of the better shorts in the film though. The letter A, D, I, J, K, L, N, S (if only for how it cleverly uses drug abuse in order to create its story), T, U, W, and X. So, as you can see, slightly less than half, by one actually, of the segments themselves are actually good. It's not that the the others are terrible, though Exterminate and Gravity are the ones that come to mind that didn't do anything. But it's just that the ones mentioned were, far and away, the highlights of the film. And even among those there are some that could've very easily been left out, Speed, for example, is one of those. What Speed offered is an interesting twist on the nature of drug abuse. It sees two women, one being held hostage by the other, being followed by a monster. The hostage taker tries to offer the other woman to the monster, before the monster says that she gave him a hard time, harder than anybody he knew, but that she cannot run forever. Then, in another scene, you see the same woman falling dead in a filthy room, dying of a drug overdose. I thought that twist was really clever and that's the only reason why it is included on here. There's some really grotesque ones here, Apocalypse is incredibly violent but it doesn't even compare to the insanity that is XXL. It sees this overweight woman, who's made fun of on her way home, and is bombarded with ads of beautiful skinny women, who completely mutilates herself by removing parts of her body in order to look like the women on TV. I can't even begin to describe how gruesome this segment actually is. Those with a weak stomach will definitely have it tested with this short. It's not the only one, since the film starts out brutally enough with Apocalypse. One of my personal favorites would have to be the claymation short Toilet just for how violent it can be, nothing as bad as XXL, since this one is actually funny, but still violent. This is the type of film that is probably enjoyed with a large group of friends and, by and large, while there are some very serious segments, the film can definitely be laughed at for the most part. Personally, I don't think there's enough quality shorts to make this film good. I think the film is energetic and fun, but that's only because of the variety of ways in which all the directors present their stories. So even if more than half of the shorts aren't good, there's still a sense of excitement because you do not know what each short is gonna bring. It's also fun trying to figure out what each letter stands for. If there was any way to edit all the good shorts together, which would be roughly around an hour long, this would be an outstanding collection of horror segments. But that's not what we got. Then again, a mixed bag for a horror film is infinitely better than a film that is just the drizzling shits, so I'll take all the positives I can get. Not even close to good, but I can't really complain much, it is the nature of the beast.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Mar 29, 2014
    The horror anthology The ABCs of Death is a mixture of the macabre, the bizarre, and the absurd. Twenty-six directors from around the world have come together to create horror vignettes, each based on a letter of the alphabet. Some are quite imaginative and especially well-crafted, while others are trite and poorly constructed. On the whole about a third are worth watching, but the rest are garbage. The ABCs of Death is an interesting experiment in filmmaking, but it ultimately fails.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

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