ABC's of Death 2 (2014)

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Released 17-Dec-2014

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy / Horror Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-x 5 for other Monster Films releases
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 117:29 (Case: 125)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Various including
Julian Barratt
Robert Boocheck
Alejandro Brugués
Studio
Distributor
Gryphon Entertainment Starring Various
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Andre Roessler
Isabel Greiwe


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, segment after end credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The concept is simple. Producers Ant Timpson and Tim League assign 26 directors (or directing teams) a letter of the alphabet and allow them free reign to make a 3 minute short film about death. The result was ABCs of Death (2010) and now comes ABCs of Death 2, which the DVD cover blurb promises is the "most anticipated horror anthology in the world . . . a showcase of worldwide gore cinema, featuring the cream of the world’s genre boffin crop, strutting their glorious, stomach-churning stuff.”

     This is the usual hyperbole but ABCs of Death 2 is indeed another anthology of the macabre and the gory. As might be expected with 26 separate directors, the anthology is an uneven mixture so while all segments contain gore and horror elements except in a couple this is not too grotesque; some segments are clever, others funny, sad, tense, scary, weird, bizarre or just silly (or any combination of these), and many contain twists. Some are animated, another filmed in slow motion, one is black and white and many have manipulated effects or colours. Segments have something for everyone including a zombie court, a monster, a home invasion, a vacation call that goes pear-shaped, action figures running wild, an exorcism, a 13 year pregnancy and a killer badger. Everyone will have their favourites: some of mine include A Is for Amateur, which is wry and clever, B Is for Badger is very funny, I Is for Invincible is intriguing, O Is for Ochlocracy (mob rule) features a nice reversal and R Is for Roulette has Russian roulette with a difference. The anthology ends on a strong note with Z Is for Zygote, a story you will not forget in a hurry. In case you were wondering, “zygote” is a biological term defined as “the cell produced by the union of two gametes, before it undergoes cleavage”. So now you know.

     The directors for the stories are drawn from around the world, including South America, Africa and Asia as well as North America and Europe. I was not familiar with most although I have reviewed on this site American Mary by Jan & Sylvia Soska (who directed T Is for Torture Porn) and I am familiar with Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Splice) who directed U Is for Utopia.

     ABCs of Death received a viewer rating of 4.7 on the IMDb, ABCs of Death 2 manages a 5.6! Rotten Tomatoes’ score was even more telling, with a rise from 24% for ABCs of Death to 50% for ABCs of Death 2. I did not see ABCs of Death but it seems that fans of that film will certainly be happy with this sequel. ABCs of Death 3 is apparently already on the drawing board.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     ABCs of Death 2 is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, close to the original ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     Each story in this anthology with its own director and cinematographer, and is low budget, so the results vary widely. Some are shot naturally in daylight, most use hand-held digital cameras, many have colour manipulated sections. Overall however the print is sharp enough, with decent colours and blacks, although shadow detail does vary. Contrast and brightness is also manipulated for effect in some stories.

     There was frequent ghosting with movement but otherwise artefacts and marks were not evident.

     There are no subtitles although non-removable white subtitles automatically translate non-English dialogue, and once some English as well.

     The layer change was not noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio is a choice of English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps or English Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 Kbps.

     I listened to the 5.1 track. As with the video, the audio was quite variable although few were particularly enveloping. Some stories had some music and ambient effects, others very little. In the stories with dialogue (and a number had none) it was clear and understandable. I did not notice much subwoofer use; maybe a bit of bass in music.

     The eerie title music is by Andre Roessler and Isabel Greiwe. Where music was used in stories, each had a different composer.

     There were no lip synchronisation issues.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Theatrical Trailer (1:40)

Trailers

     On start-up there are trailers for Gun Woman (1:59), Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla (1:20) and The Search for Weng Weng (2:56). These can also be selected from the menu plus trailers for Throwback (2:40) and Thanatomorphose (1:22).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 2 UK version of ABCs of Death 2 is not due for release until the end of March 2015. I cannot find a review of the Region 1 US DVD, but the Region A includes as extras a filmmakers’ commentary, photo galleries and various makings of. If these are on the DVD as well that would be a better choice, but until more information comes I will call the DVD versions a draw.

Summary

     One review I saw termed ABCs of Death 2 “horror for the ADD generation” which is nicely put. The 26 separate segments are short, sharp and varied, so there is no time to get bored and there is certainly something for all comedy / horror fans. As the ratings in IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes suggest, ABCs of Death 2 is an improvement over ABCs of Death, so fans should indulge.

     The video and audio vary, but are generally fine. Trailers are the only extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, February 16, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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