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Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Sean Kelly

DVD Review: ABCs of Death 2

ABCsofDeath2

ABCs of Death 2
2014/Color
Magnet/Video Services Corp.
122 Minutes
SKonMovies Review

Release Date: Feb 3, 2015

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Out now on DVD and blu-ray is ABCs of Death 2, in which 26 filmmakers present 26 ways to die.  As with the first film, each of the filmmakers were given creative freedom to create a short segment corresponding to the letter of the alphabet they were assigned, with each ending in a highly creative and often gory death.  Some of the filmmakers contributing to the second volume of the ABCS of Death include Rodney Ascher (Room 237), Alexandre Bustillo (Inside), Julian Gilbey (A Lonely Place to Die), E.L. Katz (Cheap Thrills), Aharon Keshales (Big Bad Wolves), Steven Kostanski (Manborg), Juan Martínez Moreno (Game of Werewolves), Vincenzo Natali (Cube), Jerome Sable (Stage Fright), and Jen and Sylvia Soska (American Mary).

Film in Brief

The original ABCs of Death was a film that I overall enjoyed, but thought that the segments were highly hit or miss, with there being some that I loved and others I absolutely hated.  While ABCs of Death 2 is still a bit hit or miss for me, I thought that there were many more hits this time around and the misses weren’t all that bad.  My enjoyment of each segment was quite dependent on how creative the filmmakers got with the letter they chose. Part of the fun is guessing what word the letter is going to represent, with many of the segments featuring red herrings.

My favourite segment of the bunch was Steven Kostanski’s highly creative segment for the letter W, featuring the world of Zorb. Other standout segments include the contest winning M segment by Robert Boocheck, the highly suspenseful S segment by Juan Martínez Moreno, the Soska sister’s freaky T segment, and Chris Nash’s incredibly gory segment for Z. Overall, ABCs of Death 2 was a fun lesson in death.

Disc Features and Extras

With ABCs of Death 2 essentially being a collection of 26 short films, the individual filmmakers all included their own supplemental materials, which are all included on both the DVD and blu-ray release.  The film’s commentary track features each of the filmmakers talking about their segment, with producers Ant Timpson and Tim League substituting for the filmmakers that were not available.  Of course, since the segments are only a few minutes in length, it does not give the filmmakers much time to get too in-depth with their commentary.  In fact, when there are multiple individuals talking, most of the commentary ends up being taken up by banter more than anything else.

However, the main meat of the special features comes in the form of the collection of behind-the-scenes featurettes and/or photo galleries for 19 of the 26 segments.  Most of the behind-the-scenes featurettes are as short as the segments themselves, with them ranging from two to six minutes long.  The longest featurette comes from Jen and Sylvia Soska, who provide a nearly half-hour look into the making of their segment for T.  Also among the more substantial behind-the-scenes featurettes are the 19 minute look into Sôichi Umezawa’s Y segment and the 9 minute look into the making of Vincenzo Natali’s U segment.  All together, the behind-the-scenes featurettes for ABCs of Death 2 adds up to over an hour and half of content, plus photo galleries and storyboards.

In addition to the individual special features for the segments, there is also the featurette AXS TV: A Look at ABCs of Death 2 (2:23).  Like similar AXS TV features on other discs, the featurettes consists of the film’s trailers interspersed with interviews with some of the filmmakers.

Summary

The home release for ABCs of Death 2 is pretty substantial, featuring special features for most of the film’s 26 segments.  While only a few of the disc’s featurettes really go in-depth, there is still enough content to make the release worthwhile.

Film Rating: 8 | LIKED IT
Disc Rating: 8 | LIKED IT

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).