3 StarsTales from the Hood follows in the tradition of other urban-themed horror films such as Blackula, Bones, and Vampire in Brooklyn. As witnessed by those aforementioned titles, this particular sub-genre is known for mediocre films featuring predominately African-American casts. Tales from the Hood rises above those sophomore standards set by its cinematic predecessors and overcomes a limited budget and some spotty acting to prove itself a worthy add to the genre.
Written and directed by Rusty Cundieff and produced by Spike Lee, this horror anthology features four stories involving social issues mixed with horror elements. As the film progresses the intensity of each tale increases as well, the first is essentially a thinly veiled Rodney King/L.A.P.D. scenario, except this time the victim seeks revenge on the cops. The second story follows a young boy physically abused by the monster living in his home, the final twist while predictable is ultimately satisfying in its conclusion.
Arguably the kookiest of all the tales is the third, which chronicles the trials of a Southern racist living in a massive plantation house occupied by the ghostly spirit of deceased slaves. Yet, all the aforementioned stories fail to equal the disturbing final act. We meet a street-thug gunned down in a shoot-out, now stuck in purgatory and forced to face the deceased victims of his violent criminal past. This is by far the most graphic and visually interesting segment of the film. I wish all the stories had been this powerful and thought-provoking.
Tales from the Hood acquits itself nicely as a whole product. All four stories are told with urgency and feature a fresh spin on otherwise rudimentary material. Compared to other films of the ilk, this urban-centric horror film deserves to been seen by a wider audience than the suggested intended demographic.
Director: Rusty Cundieff
Stars: Clarence Williams III, Corbin Bernsen, Joe Torry