Starring Keith David, Bryan Batt, Lou Beatty, Jr., Alexandria DeBerry, Bill Martin Williams
Directed by Rusty Cundieff and Darin Scott
Distributed by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
It was way back in 1995 when the original Tales From the Hood blazed onto the big screen under the watchful eye of Spike Lee, director Rusty Cundieff, and co-writer/producer Darin Scott. The film continues to grow in popularity mainly because it’s a fun horror flick with something real to say about society. We’re now over two decades removed from the events portrayed in that film, and all of its messages still ring true. Sadly, not much has changed; and the same ignorance that permeates each tale of terror is still alive and well. Tales From the Hood 2 further underscores this and manages to remain just as fun in the process.
Spike is back along with Cundieff and Scott (the latter of whom directs a couple of this project’s segments this time around). The only key component of the gang not present and accounted for is the wonderful Clarence Williams III, but fear not, fans… the more than capable Keith David (The Thing, They Live) is here to pick up the baton of the yarn-spinner, Mr. Simms, and wield it to great effect. David is electric in the flick and delivers every bit of the delightfully ghoulish fun that Willams did many years ago.
On tap for this go-around we have tales of dolls come to life, vampires with bite, vengeful ghosts, and a truly poignant finale that delivers the message of right and wrong in the type of compelling manner that’s rarely seen within the genre nowadays. Tales From the Hood 2 is just as fun and relevant as its predecessor, and the only thing holding it back from achieving true greatness is its budget, which definitely rears its head via some unfortunately ham-fisted CG that ends up being more distracting than useful.
Still, Cundieff and Scott do their damndest to put every cent of what they had to work with on the screen and in the process manage to create one hell of an experience despite their monetary limitations. Solid writing and a slick eye for the camera will always trump flashy effects, but that doesn’t mean the duo shy away from practical effects either. There are some truly nasty bits to be found here that will have you both laughing and cringing at the same time.
Anthology films are mostly a mix of hit and miss, but that’s also the beauty of them. If you’re not diggin’ what you’re watching, just wait a tick; and boom! There’s another horrific ride just waiting to pick you up. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another 23 years for a sequel… but if it means we’ll also get a solid line-up of fear films that are in one way or another “the shit,” then it will be worth the wait. But really… Universal… give this team and this franchise the budget they deserve, and let the magic happen. All is good in The Hood.