This is the second in a series of ‘Netflix streaming roulette’ reviews. Austin horror examiner Michael Taylor reviews the first horror movie off ‘Netflix’ streaming that he’s never seen before. Wish him luck.
‘The ABC’s Of Death’ is the latest attempt to revive the horror anthology format, which was jump started by last years ‘V/H/S.’
It’s the latest original production by Drafthouse films, a subsidiary of Austin’s popular movie theater chain.
Unfortunately it suffers from the same problems that plagued the often grating and annoying ‘V/H/S’ (which has recently inspired a sequel).
This is a shame as the concept is fun. Every letter of the alphabet is represented in a short segment directed by up and coming horror directors.
But one must take issue with a horror movie that is practically bereft of scares. And originality.
‘E is For Exterminate’s’ plot about a dead spider’s ultimate revenge on the man who kills it, is lifted straight off of the ‘Night Gallery’ episode ‘The Caterpillar.’
And too many stories are cut from the same cloth. ‘Both K is For Klutz’ and ‘M is For Miscarriage’ are both toilet obsessed. At least ‘Klutz’ is somewhat humorous with whimsical animation.
But the latter falls terribly flat and the fact that Ti West directs it is disheartening. How a director of the best horror film in recent memory (‘The House Of The Devil’) made something so uninspired is perplexing. But perhaps ‘Devil’ was a fluke given his similarly tepid segment for ‘V/H/S’.
And other segments like ‘H is for Hydro-Electric Diffusion’ and ‘O is For Orgasm’ are visually vibrant, but go nowhere.
And there are some pretty repugnant nods to the torture porn genre such as ‘L is For Libido’ written and directed by Timo Tjahjanto, which should play well to the ‘The Human Centipede’ crowd, but alienate everybody else.
Perhaps the format is at fault. When you only allow a few minutes for each segment, you have scant little time to set up tension or develop character, making each vignette play like a student film. Anthology films work best when they’re divided into four half-hour segments (i.e. ‘Twilight Zone: The Movie). There simply isn’t enough room for this material to breathe.
Instead it seems that the filmmakers involved with this picture are more concerned with being humorous. Too bad that strategy fails as well.
In the end, ‘The ABC’s of Death’ becomes a true chore to sit through, and the only letter in the alphabet that is truly represented is the letter Z, infinitely repeated.