ABC’s of Death 2 (2014) – Review

 Be ready to learn your ABC’s again with 26 new directors and 26 new deaths bring your kids to a blood and gore filled horror so good your face will be blood red.

Okay, so here we go again. Last time, ABCs brought us twenty-six short horror films, half a dozen of which were very good, another half a dozen or so were very bad (looking at you, Ti West) and everything else fell somewhere in the middle. Like the original, ABCs 2 takes the alphabet and gives each director a letter, a five thousand dollar budget and no real boundaries except that every short films’ theme must be (you guessed it) concerning death.
And here, rather predictably, we get much the same result. It’s bloody, it’s messy. Sometimes it will turn your stomach, it might even make you laugh (if you’re so inclined). What you are guaranteed is that you will discover something new, possibly inventive and almost certainly horrible.
I’m not about to go into each short in detail, but generally just highlight my favourites from this bunch, much like I did with the previous release. If you really want a breakdown of all of them then go here, where you’ll find all of the information you are likely to need.

Every persons’ feeling about grisly and sudden death will vary and the same is true for every director and each of the ones featured here takes on a different aspect as you would expect. This is a horror anthology, after all, so you can expect something gruesome from almost all of them, but some resonated much more than others, disaplaying some unique talents and ideas. Probably the most noteworthy and memorable was Split, directed by Juan Martinez Moreno, featuring a businessman away at a hotel talking to his wife on the phone when an intruder breaks into the house and he is forced to listen helplessly as his family is brutally and mercilessly murdered. The acting is great, as is the simple script and direction, with a plot twist that is perhaps roundly satisfying from some.

Also more than worthy of mention is  Roulette, a simple tale of a game of Russian Roulette with another unique twist at its conclusion. Directed by Marvin Kren, this also features some good performances from the cast and a crisp, clinical feel, shot in black and white. The script is simple, but Kren leaves us on the edge of our seat throughout.
Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper bring us Knell, featuring a young woman in her apartment who hears a strange noise from outside and witnesses an equally strange phenomena that appears to have an unstoppable force on the people near it, who all suddenly become aware of her voyeurism. Nicely scored and acted, Knell is also a riveting and gripping few minutes of cinema that is worthy of attention.
As mentioned, much like the previous anthology, there is alot of rubbish mixed in amongst the pearls and on average, the second in this surprisingly successful franchise does not honestly meet the standards delivered by the original. Always entertaining, the collection is probably one for horror enthusiasts particularly, which I can’t say that I am personally, so others may give you an entirely different list of personal favourites. If you have the stomach for it, and it is less demanding in this area than previously, then you should maybe give it an airing. If nothing else, this does give a host of new independent film-makers an outlet, in order for them to express themselves and their sometimes dubious talents to a greater audience. Not as original, inventive or sadistic as the original, this is nonetheless sometimes eye-opening stuff.

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