There seems to be two modi operandi for directors approached to make a short for the ABCs of Death anthology series. One, throw together the most shocking things you can dream up and stitch them into a six-minute narrative; or two, just make a good six minute horror film and let the shocking stuff fall into place. The first film in the ABCs of Death franchise–in which different directors are given a letter of the alphabet and asked to make a corresponding tale of death and horror– swarmed with the former. Even great modern horror directors (Adam Wingard, Ti West, Ben Wheatley, et al) got caught up in the shock-first mentality and ended up turning in fairly benign shorts. ABCs of Death 2 (which inexplicably dropped the “The” from the first film), featuring twenty-six shorts from thirty new directors, is an improvement. But just barely.