Saturday, October 18, 2014

The ABCs of Death

Directed by 26 different contributors.
2013. Rated R, 124 minutes.

Right away, we're told how this movie came to be. Twenty-six directors from around the world were each given a different letter of the alphabet. They then chose whatever word they wished, as long as it started with the same letter. Using that word and death as the theme, the director made a short film. That means there is no chance for cohesion whatsoever. That's fine. I just hope most of them are good.

If not actually good, nearly all of them are definitely interesting. By interesting, I mean weird. This is very much a collection of the bizarre, filled to the brim with WTF moments. Most head shake and face palm inducing is the segment for the letter 'F', by Japanese director Noboru Iguchi. 'F' is for far,of course. Far from frightened, I was frankly freakin' flabbergasted. Too much? Okay, I'll stop. In general, though, the entries from our Asian auteurs tended to be the most farthest out there. Another oddity being the section marked 'L' for libido. As the title suggests, it's a sexually charged short. Men are strapped to a chair and forced to masturbate to whatever scene is being acted out before them. In this case, being a quick finisher is a good thing. Unfortunately, what's being acted out before their eyes grows increasingly strange and/or repulsive.

Not to be outdone, an animated entry focuses on a turd that won't stay in the toilet. Speaking of toilets, director Ti West uses one in his segment to make me hate him even more than I already do. I didn't think that was possible. If you didn't know, I've developed a rather passionate dislike of the man, or at least, his work. I thought it was as bad as it could get. Then this. Sigh.

Hidden within this pile of rubbish, there are a few legitimately strong entries. The two best take a self-aware approach. Adam Wingard's short opens with he and his cohorts lamenting the letter they were given to work with, Q, then trying to come up with an idea. Finally, they settle on filming themselves blowing up a live duck. That sounds bad, but it works out in hilarious fashion. By the way, Wingard also directed You're Next. Similarly, Jon Schnepp's segment starts with him griping with his buddies because the deadline to get their entry done is fast approaching and they haven't done anything yet. Then all hell breaks loose. Another standout involves a young boy being told a story about a boogeyman like figure by his older brother who wants the lad to hurry up and fall asleep so he and his girlfriend can get it on. That one comes from Mexican director Adrian Garcia Bogliano.

Unfortunately, the bad far outweighs the good. You may not agree if you delight in seeing just how strange things can get. If that's your deal then you should have already watched this. Just stop reading now and get to it. If weird isn't your thing, there's not nearly enough good to here to recommend you taking the plunge. As for me, well, I survived all twenty-six entries. I think I deserve some sort of horror flick medal. It starts with an 'M'.

MY SCORE: 3/10

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