THE ABCs OF DEATH (various directors). 123 minutes. Some subtitles. Screens tonight (Thursday, May 23) at various theatres, then continues at Yonge-Dundas Square. See Movies. Rating: NN
The ABCs Of Death is an extremely ambitious anthology that lines up 26 short horror films - one for each letter of the alphabet - by an international coterie of up-and-coming directors.
It's basically a collection of three-minute sketches, each barely long enough to establish a premise and deliver a payoff, and some filmmakers are better suited to the format than others.
Ben (Kill List) Wheatley's contribution is appropriately jangled and freakish; Ti (The Innkeepers) West's is subtle and disturbing. Adam Wingard and his regular screenwriter Simon Barrett (You're Next) have some fun with the project's limitations, and Marcel (Deadgirl) Sarmentio's piece pulls no punches, either literally or figuratively, with its tale of an underground fighting club with one truly horrible twist.
But four great pieces out of 26 is a pretty thin ratio, and you have to endure an awful lot of misfires - including a badly miscalculated revenge story by Hobo With A Shotgun's Jason Eisener - to get to the good bits.