ABC’s of Death 2.5 (2016)

57229c02dc74845e670ad365ABC’s of Death 2 1/2 showcases an additional top 26 finalists, providing fans 85 minutes of unadulterated madness.

In truth, this was a movie I was pretty much ready to let pass me by. At the best, both of these films have been just so-so as horror anthologies go. However, I learned that a former classmate of mine, and up-and-coming horror director Gigi Saul Guerrero had a short featured in this, and so I picked it up and gave it a shot. As the description above says, these are the entries created in hopes of being featured as the M segment in ABC’s of Death 2. The winning short, which I re-watched in preparation for this, is “M is for Masticate”, one of the weaker segments of the film, which makes a dated joke about bath salts. Watching these, it actually surprises me that that was the one that was given the honor, because there really are some creative and interesting entries in 2.5.

Starting with Guerrero’s segment, “M is for Matador” is easily one of the strongest of the bunch. The set design, and production value overall is so high, and the short manages to communicate a complete story with a beginning middle and end, rather than feeling like a chapter from a larger story. It’s exactly the right way to do a short segment like this, and something that so many short filmmakers seem to miss. She’s not alone in terms of high-quality shorts either, there are some genuinely creative and interesting pieces including the use of paper puppets, stop motion animation, and some stories that I almost would have liked to see more of, like “M is for Martyr” which sets up an interesting world that might lend itself to a longer piece later. In general I was impressed with the work and time that clearly went in to most of these pieces.

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Of course, it wouldn’t be an anthology without some pretty weak entries. There are a number of them that essentially rely on being gross, and nothing else. Like the story of a man who poops from his belly button, for example, which seems to end with the man attaching his belly button to someone else, as if to imply that the “curse” passes along. There are a few more like this that don’t make a whole like of sense. One such being “M is for Miracle” which feels senseless and thrown together.

Overall, ABC’s of Death 2 makes for a fun little addition for fans of the previous films, but definitely isn’t something that is going to make my best of lists or anything like that. Not a bad little distraction while you wait for something new to come out. I do look forward to seeing more from the more creative filmmakers here, and really look forward to seeing the next pieces of work from Guerrero in the years to come. Check this out if you’re looking for an interesting and diverse showcase of up and coming filmmakers, but temper your expectations a little bit.

MY RATING: ***

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