A real hit and miss collection of death.
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Every once in a while there comes an idea that is just a really cool idea. This is one of those, well in concept at least. Get twenty six directors to each shoot a short about a different letter of the alphabet that each deals with a different way to die. Get some real well known directors and some more not well known ones and they will be from all over the world. Sounds great right? For the most part it actually does work, but there are times where it just completely falls flat and makes me question how much of the finished product was actually gone over before it was tossed into the overall product. Me, Jori and Lackey decided that it would be fun to watch the movie and then split up the reviewing by letter. I tossed all the letters in a hat (literally) and began to pull them. These are the letters that I was given.
E – E Is For Exterminate
Director: Angela Bettis
A man is in his apartment and there is a spider. After trying to kill it with a rolled up paper it bites him. Then it proceeds to come after him day after day until he finally kills it. But the spider has the final laugh.
So my biggest problem with this one is the complete predictability. This is a story that has been done about a billion times and when the ending happens there is absolutely no surprise. I love Angela Bettis and her acting is some of the most overlooked genius that I’ve ever seen, but this shows that that is where she should stay. Then again this is all I’ve seen of her directorial work and the rest could be better, but based on this I’d question watching her other work.
J – J Is For Jidai-Geki
Director: Yûdai Yamaguchi
A man is kneeling over and making some really strange, and painful, faces. We then jump to a man in a downward sword striking stance ready to kill the man making faces. The big problem is that every time he looks at the man the faces get more and more bizarre and funny. It throws him off so much he isn’t even able to keep a straight face.
This one made me laugh out loud. Each face was just more bizarre than the last and the reaction on the man’s face is just priceless. Then again this is the exact reason why I love Yûdai Yamaguchi in the first place. He just does strange and funny things and then tosses in a bit of gore to top it off.
K – K Is For Klutz
Director: Anders Morgenthaler
A woman goes to the bathroom and after she is done she flushes. As she is about to walk away she hears a strange squeaking coming from the toilet. She looks in the bowl and sees her turd is kinda swimming around. She keeps trying to flush it but the damn thing won’t go down and then it ends up on the floor and it almost seems to follow her. No matter what she tries doesn’t seem to get it back in the bowl.
This one started off really funny and strangely cute. The problem is that after a little while it just got really tedious. The joke wore off really fast and by the end I was just grateful it was over. Then again the ending is actually pretty funny.
L – L Is For Libido
Director: Timo Tjahjanto
A man wakes up strapped to a chair in nothing but his underwear and there is another man in the same situation next to him. A woman walks out and takes off her clothes. We then see a little subtitle that says Stage 1. The other man starts to masturbate so our main guy decides that that is what the people watching want them to do. He comes first and the man next to him gets a giant spike through the ass up to the mouth, and then we move on to Stage 2. As the stages move on the masturbation material gets more disturbing and our “hero” gets more worn out.
This one was really good, but after a little bit of time you just get bored with the whole idea and want it to be over. They do toss some strange things at you and there are some that made me wonder how you could masturbate to that even if your life is on the line. Then again it’s hard to beat an eyeball in a pussy.
N – N Is For Nuptials
Director: Banjong Pisanthanakun
A man brings home a bird to his girlfriend who isn’t too pleased. He takes out the bird and shows her that he can do some tricks and that he can talk. Last night ne spent all night teaching the bird to talk. He then proceeds to take out a ring that the bird brings to her and asks her to marry him. She says yes but the bird keeps on talking. It turns out that after teaching the bird to talk the man had another woman over and they had a little fun, and the bird was like a mini recorder and he proceeds to replay the night to the couple.
Funny, funny and more funny. The bird is fucking cute as hell and the two actors are just great. This one is probably one of my favorites.
O – O Is For Orgasm
Director: Bruno Forzani & Héléne Cattet
There is a woman in a chair and she is getting eaten out by a man. As she gets more excited she starts to spit out bubbles. There is some leather gloves, some more bubbles, more leather, a cigarette and more bubbles and then she is hanging upside down and sinking into the chair.
These two are extremely one note. So far I’ve only seen two of their shorts and both have so much in common that it’s pretty pathetic. Yes, I get it that leather and the sound that leather makes is a great thing (or terrible depending on the viewer), but do something different for a change. Then again if I was handed something else by them I wouldn’t be surprised if it was more of the same with more symbolism tossed in. That’s what my real problem is with these two. It’s all symbolism and there is no real substance. It’s pretty and very well shot, but there is no real life to it.
P – P Is For Pressure
Director: Simon Rumley
A woman is walking with her kids and one of them really wants a bicycle. At home the mother looks into a hidden stash of money and decides to hook (or go back to hooking) for the rest. Her boyfriend, who seems to be a drunk but acts more like a junkie, steals the money. She returns to find this out and decides to call a number that she was given to do some strange stuff. She does those things and the girl gets the bike.
From beginning to end this one is pretty darn boring. There are a few things that were pretty good, but nothing that left me wanting to know more. The only real plus of this one is the extremely cute cat.
R – R Is For Removed
Director: Srdjan Spasojevic
This is the story of the ultimate spy (at least that’s my guess). It starts with a man who is covered in bad skin and a doctor starts to cut some off. After removing a pretty sizeable piece it is put into a solution and at the other end it comes out as camera film. After a little more of this and him being shown to a bunch of admirers it seems that he’s had enough. He digs into his own skin and produces a bullet. He leaves the hospital, killing a few people along the way including one with the bullet, and he heads to a train station.
This one is just great on a number of levels. The whole idea of who the man is, is pretty much left up in the air. Is he a spy (like I think), a prisoner, an experiment, an alien, etc. To add to the strange you have the ending that just leaves more questions wanting to be answered.
U – U Is For Unearthed
Director: Ben Wheatley
This one begins with holes being busted into what seems to be a door. We are then suddenly tossed into the view point of someone (or thing) being attack by a group of people including a priest. The thing runs away, bites some woman and runs some more until it is finally caught.
Normally I would hate this type of film, but for some reason I really liked this one. It was kinda cool seeing the POV of the monster (vampire) and how it saw everyone. There is an especially beautiful scene where it is hiding in the forest and they light a flare (I think). It’s a really beautiful yellow against the forest. Plus the ending is actually pretty cool.
In the end there were more fails than wins, then again I got a pretty good batch to review. Is it good enough to warrant spending money on? I really don’t know. I would probably have to say no. Small Gauge Trauma was a collection of shorts that were great and most of them left a strong impression in my mind (positive or negative), but The ABCs Of Death didn’t work so well for me. I actually forgot what a lot of them were about almost immediately after watching a couple of the next shorts and that’s saying something. It’s not a complete pile of terrible but there really isn’t enough to call this collection great.Have You Read...?