Written & Directed By: Rusty Cundief & Darin Scott
Cinematography: Keith L. Smith
Editor: Miriam L. Preissel & John Quinn
Cast: Keith David, Bryan Batt, Lou Beatty Jr, Alexandra Deberry, Kendrick Cross, Bill Martin Williams, Andy Cohen
Horror is back in the hood! The sequel to the ground-breaking original film Tales From the Hood reunites Executive Producer Spike Lee and Writers/Directors/Producers Rusty Cundieff and Darin Scott for an all-new gripping, horrifying and oftentimes devilishly comical anthology. Keith David stars as a contemporary Mr. Simms to tell bloodcurdling stories about lust, greed, pride and politics through tales with demonic dolls, possessed psychics, vengeful vixens and historical ghosts. Mr. Simms’s haunting stories will make you laugh…while you scream.
Watching this movie gives you even more of an appreciation for the first film. As this anthology film continues in the tradition, but like most sequels never rises to the quality of the first film.
I was really looking forward to this film, unfortunately it is a huge let down. As I could maybe go with the fact that clearance Williams iii not coming back. That the role of the mortician could be not only replaces by a new actor but maybe with that new actor a new style would be in order, but here it feels like the filmmakers almost seem to lose the central theme or maybe we are wrong.
The first film was inspirational this feels more like trying to continue the legacy but also seeking a quick buck and unfortunately it is by the original creators who seem to have fallen way off the mark.
As in the first film the tales were about racism and homegrown horrors that haunt the African American community. Yes most of these tales starred African American actors, but there was a history attached and culture that seemed based on the community seeking justice and being victims.
When it comes to this new film it seems like it is trying to be more broad and be More like TALES FROM THE CRYPT only with more minorities starring in the tales. The only problem is that most of the tales are so uninspired, unintentionally laughable and just plain old ridiculous. They more resemble tales that could have been in the anthology Snoop Dogg’s tales of terror. As out of these stories only two truly deep with race. The first one seems like a revenge fantasy that seems more comedic and the last tale. Seems so all over the place and hard to follow though it is the most dramatic of the tales. The wrap around story involving the mortician as he helps a politician who is programming a robot to be a prison guard and enforcer. As the mortician feeds these tales they are supposed to teach the robot how to punish those who deserve it and with what severity. The only problem is it is obvious where this tale is going and there is no subtlety at all in this tale or any of the others.
Another problem is that these tales feel like horror tales that just so happen to involve people of color. They are not about racism or even the community so to speak. As one tape is about a bunch of criminals who go to a phony psychic to talk to the guy they killed to find out where he hid the loot and what ends up happening to them. The next tale is more about guys who date rape and videotape it and what happens when they try it on the wrong two ladies. This one is practically telegraphed and tried to play for laughs and maybe even trying to be a revenge fantasy against misogynists and allows for a tale of a culture other than minorities to get their say, but it is also lazy and predictable.
When it comes to horror films like Science Fiction this one allows to see the prejudices handed down in humantiy only usually it is thought to be in outer space between aliens and humans, here it is on earth and african americans still trying to be thought of as human jut like everyone else but still being treated different. The same goes for many cultures and people of color but african americans seems to have the longest history as well as some of the most painful examples.
Which can be difficult when watching horror films as it’s nice to be recognized in this genre, but the simple fact that in life african americans have so much injustice and everyday horrors to face and killed by that now to include monsters, slashers, spirits and ghosts just seems a bit much. There also seems to be this integration involved but there are still some rules or stereotypes that involve their characters that come off more as stereotypes rather then let’s say character oriented. In fact it seems that in horror you will see
When it Comes to horror movies how come there are many ways and sequels in which some unstoppable slasher in a mask comes back to logs to kill teenagers but last i checked only THE CANDYMAN series and a segment of TALES FROM THE HOOD. That has African Americans seeking revenge. and retribution for their torture and treatment by the powers that be which were usually caucasian.
There are the horror blaxploitation films but usually unfortunately that has a high count of African Americans dying at the Hands of the monster also As horror more seeks to glorify characters and actors sometimes who are left often with nothing to do in other films except play more in the background. So if horror films are supposed to glorify and make more the biased and downtrodden characters finally given a starring role but also let them be the survivor and wiser then whatever they are haunted by you would think it would be perfect allegories for african americans or people of color facing the evils or inhumane of the world but rather instead it seems that the films become more for women (Rarely of color) to be the ultimate survivors. Maybe if they were more about people of color is that these films would give too many people ideas. As they would come off more as revolutionary revenge films that just so happen to include the otherworldly.
Seeing female characters as smarter and become the victor through thought and ingenuity rather then brute strength associated with men. Though as these films survive on violence and death around them it seems people of color are regulated to be the victims as friends or people in the survivors life.
Where as if most of these films were filled with african american casts it might seem strange as we are the heroes and victims. Not to mention in the first film the people who were killed or victims seemed to deserve whatever came to them. As a kind of justice, in this film various people are killed that seem either random or not while totally innocent it seems excessive.
You can kind of tell where this film is going during the first story. As the town beers wildly and you don’t know if you should laugh or be terrified and the characters behavior makes no sense. Especially the museum keeper who has such long speeches and then by the end seems more like the crypt keeper with his more cynical and ambivalent over the top behavior.
Which is what overall the problem with the movie is, is that it seems so rare for a horror movie to involve minority characters and actually Deal with the subject of race. That after the first film which wasn’t the greatest but felt like a film not only of the time but also a film that is a landmark. That after all this time finally getting a sequel that is so weak and squanders the chances it has. It just feels so much of a letdown.