ABCs of Death 2, out on VOD on October 2nd, and in theaters on Halloween, seeks to deliver another menacing, twenty-six-taled experience that fans of its predecessor would expect. It’s hard to review one of these movies as a whole because it’s really about each part, and there’s got to be at least something for just about every type of horror fan, but just as the original was divisive, it’s hard to see this one being greeted much differently.
From the official synopsis:
ABC’s OF DEATH 2 is the follow-up to the most ambitious anthology film ever conceived with productions spanning from Nigeria to UK to Brazil and everywhere in between. It features segments directed by over two dozen of the world’s leading talents in contemporary genre film. The film 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 rein in choosing a word to create a story involving death. Provocative, shocking, funny and at times confrontational, ABC’s OF DEATH 2 is another global celebration of next generation genre filmmaking.
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My gut feeling after watching the film for the first time is that as a whole, it’s not quite on the same level as the first. To me, the good far outweighed the bad in Part 1, but it was a little more balanced this time around. If three quarters of the first one was good, then it was more like half and half for Part 2. Honestly this is a somewhat futile review. As I found with the first one, my opinions about some of the segments changed upon re-watching, and I’d imagine a similar experience here. Unfortunately, I’ve only got time to watch it once for now. There’s also the fact that everybody has different tastes, and when you’re talking about 26 different segments, that leaves a whole lot of different flavor combinations. You and I might both like A, but then have completely opposite views of B. We both hate C, but only one of us thinks D is worth a shit. And on and on through the alphabet. I think you get the point.
But that point is as good of reason as any for me to recommend this movie to any horror fan just as I would the first. There’s probably something in there that you’ll find entertaining.
Now that we got through all of the hemming and hawing. I’ll give you my more direct opinions.
While I enjoyed a pretty decent amount of the segments in ABCs of Death 2, I don’t feel like any of them were as effective as the most effective ones from Part 1. There were some truly uncomfortable moments in that one (particularly L is for Libido), but I didn’t get that generally unclean feeling I got from moments of the first film. That doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of horror to go around, and like Part 1, Part 2 offers some moments of comic relief.
Without revealing much about individual segments (the fun of these movies is not knowing where they’re going to take you next), I’ll say the stand-outs in my book were: C, J, K, O, S, W, X, and Z. I supposed those would be my top eight in unranked order. You’ll notice that a good portion of these are later in the alphabet, and that’s an important point to note.
2 just doesn’t start off with the bang the first one does. A is for Apocalypse from the first film got things started very well, in my opinion, whereas A this time around just wasn’t one of the most compelling segments. Save for C (which is still probably near the bottom of that top eight list), it takes a while for the goods to really be delivered in 2. The turning point for me was in the J and K area, at which point things just started to feel like they were looking up, and in general, they did. So the lesson here is that if you’re not impressed with the early segments, don’t let that deter you from powering through the rest. Some of the later ones are among the best of the bunch.
The presentation of the segments is a bit different this time around. There’s more of a storybook approach to the visuals from the opening title sequence to the in-between-segment titles and on to the end credits, which are accompanied by a much differently toned soundtrack from the first film. This time it’s more of a kids singing “la la la” kind of thing (which feels pretty familiar) as opposed to that wonderful “Horror Movie” song that takes you out of Part 1. I prefer the first one’s approach personally.
All in all, however, ABCs of Death 2 deserves your time at least once. Then, you can decide if there’s enough there to warrant repeat viewings. I can say with certainty that I’ll be revisiting it in the future, and probably for years to come.
Be sure to check out my ranking of the first film’s 26 segments here. That should actually give you a good idea about my own sensibilities, and may help to color this review a little bit more. But even still, if you think my rankings on that one are ridiculous, then you still owe it to yourself to watch Part 2, because you may like some of the ones I didn’t.
To each their own. I feel like that’s what the ABCs of Death franchise is all about, and that’s a good thing for horror. These movies are great for the genre because they open fans’ eyes to different talent and types of horror that they may not have even considered watching before. More importantly, it inspires creativity and originality, which are two things lacking far too often in mainstream horror cinema. One thing is guaranteed when you watch an ABCs of Death film, you will see something unconventional.