09:28 - 26th April 2013, by Calum Waddell

THE ABCs of Death

For this compilation opus a number of directors from across the world were asked to create a short film. Some of the fear-makers in question, such as America's Ti West, France's Xavier Gens and Spain's Jorge Michel Grau, are well known within indie circles - but the rest are unlikely to ring a bell amongst even the hardiest of horror buff. The key here is that each outing must relate to a letter of the alphabet and base its narrative around human mortality. The reason for NEO's interest is the presence of some eastern auteurs - including Noboru Iguchi (Machine Girl), Yûdai Yamaguchi (Deadball), Yoshihiro Nishimura (Helldriver) and Thailand's Banjong Pisanthanakun (Shutter). Unfortunately, these Oriental efforts are amongst the weakest of the lot. Iguchi's 'F is for Fart' at least climaxes on a visually salacious note, but Yamaguchi's 'J is for Jidai-geki' and Nishimura's 'Z is for Zetsumetsu' lack any of the J-splatter imagination you might expect.

Pisanthanakun's 'N is for Nuptials' is equally underwhelming, and at two hours in length, and with 26 shorts to concentrate on, the whole idea - which on paper is a great one - becomes tiring. Adding to the problem, The ABC's of the Death starts out with a brilliant bloody bang (the sublime and splatter-packed 'A is for Apocalypse' by Spain's Nacho Vigalondo) and continues to hold promise with a couple of other excellent Euro-efforts. Alas, by the time we reach the letter Q (the last segment of worth), it is a long stretch to the end.

There are a handful of excellent segments in The ABC's of Death, but not enough to make this anything other than an average little international oddity...
SCORE: 2.5/5
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