Fantasia 2018: Tales from the Hood 2 [Review]

Tales from the Hood 2Horror anthologies come and go. Some are memorable; others are not. Most usually have a balance of interesting segments, sprinkled with some more bland ones. Unfortunately, some just fall flat entirely. Thus is the case with “Tales from the Hood 2” which made its world premiere at Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival.

A rich white man has developed a police robot that is set, according to him, to be the next level of security in America. This prosperous businessman employs Portifoy Simms (Keith David; “They Live” and “The Thing”) to program it with stories (???; don’t ask). And so the four tales from the hood commence.

The first segment involves a pesky white girl, along with her black friend, who visit a rustic museum on everything covering racism against African-Americans throughout the years. She falls in love with a Golliwog doll, trapped in a glass case, and asks to purchase it from the museum owner, who refuses. Shallow as she is, she returns that night with her companion, along with her brother, to break inside and steal the doll. Once they attempt their burglary, however, the doll comes to life, in addition to a few other exhibited items to teach the trio a lesson.

The second segment features a triad of criminals, torturing a bound up former pimp to discover where he hid a stash of money. When one of them gets carried away a little too much and accidentally kills the man, they resort to a fraudulent television psychic to contact the spirit of their victim to obtain the information they were seeking. They evidently get much more than what they bargained for.

Next, an idiotic duo of guys with bad intentions, posing as movie producers, convince a pair of models to meet them in a hotel room. Once they arrive at the rendezvous, the “bros” discover that their counterparts, whom they were planning on raping, are vampires who had even more sinister plans than them.

Finally, the fourth segment revolves around a black Republican politician in a southern portion of the United States whose pregnant white wife has visions of a deceased Civil Rights leader. The ghost is distraught that her husband is shutting down voting establishments in black communities to make sure that he is elected.

Twenty-three years after the first chapter in the “Tales from the Hood” series, the second installment is an utter disappointment. Absurd, redundant, and boring are the first adjectives that came to mind as the final credits rolled up onscreen.

The first segment of the horror anthology was meant to be absurd and over-the-top, but the actors push it so much that we aren’t sure if they are exaggerating their performance or just plain awful at it. Plus, the fact that the Golliwog doll is simply an oversized mascot once it comes to life really turned me off. The second segment had its comedic moments, but again, nothing memorable came out of it. The vampire-related piece was the classic “the victims are the victimizers” tale and didn’t extract more than a careless shrug from me. The last segment, although the most politically-linked and timely one, was also the most tiresome, boring and dreadful one. Sadly, the only interesting excerpts of the film are those involving Keith David himself, the cryptkeeper of these tales, who is also involved in an absolutely ridiculous storyline that makes no sense whatsoever.

I understand that writers and directors Rusty Cundieff (director of the original “Tales from the Hood”) and Darin Scott (director of “Dark House”) were trying to go over-the-top absurd in some segments and more poised and thoughtful in another, all the while attempting to connect with contemporary issues of racism and victimizing of women. Regrettably, the original “Tales” from 1995 did the same thing, in much more entertaining fashion, and much more intertwined with interesting horror plots. “Tales from the Hood 2” merits a poorly 2.5 stars out of 5 and will definitely not be remembered as one of the great horror anthologies.

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