Tales from the Hood 2

11/27/2018 07:29

Film: Tales from the Hood 2

Year: 2018

Director: Rusty Cundieff and Darin Scott

Writer: Rusty Cundieff and Darin Scott

Starring: Kedrick Brown, Alicia Davis Johnson and Creighton Thomas



This was a film that I was intrigued when I learned they were making. I was a big fan of the original and it was one that I remember seeing when it hit VHS. I am a big fan of anthology films, especially with how hard the original hit with social issues. To get into this one, the official synopsis is Mr. Simms (Keith David) tells bloodcurdling stories about lust, greed, pride and politics through tales with demonic dolls, possessed psychics, vengeful vixens and historical ghosts.

For the wraparound story this time around, we have Mr. Simms called in by Dumas Beach (Bill Martin Williams) to tell stories to a new robot he is building. This is where it is kind of like Robocop, in that they want these new machines to patrol the streets to ensure that crime is wiped out. They need Mr. Simms, who is known for his storytelling, to tell stories to help mold the mind of this machine that can learn. We see through this Dumas is a horrible man and those around him don’t speak out about it. This includes PollyAnnas Hockenbull (Alicia Davis Johnson) who is sexually harassed in front of Mr. Simms and she just goes along with it.

The first tale that is told is Good Golly. A couple of friends, one white Audrey (Alexandria DeBerry) and the other black Zoe (Jasmine Akakpo), go to a museum about racist propaganda that was used after slavery was abolished. We learn that is when the stereotypes were used in commercials, merchandise and toys. Audrey sees a doll that she had growing up known as Golliwog. She wants to buy it and the curator declines her offer. She comes back with her brother, Philip (Andy Cohen), to steal it. It is holding years of racism in it and is haunted. Once it is free, it decides to get its revenge.

I have to admit, I didn’t really know the extent of how racist some of the propaganda and how things were sold. Now I knew there were drawn and cartoons on television that were, but this segment was eye opening. It is really deplorable to be honest. I like that subtext of this segment. I didn’t like the execution and how this ends. I do like the line though that the doll was made as a stereotype and it is just living it out. I was impressed though that the slave doll from the original film makes an appearance. I thought that was a good touch.

The second tale is The Medium. We see that former pimp, Cliff Bettis (Creighton Thomas) is being held against his will by a few thugs. They are trying to rob him of 5 million dollars that they know he has. It appears that he is trying to go legit and using this money to open up a school for minorities. They don’t care and in a rage, one of them kills him. They didn’t learn where the money is before doing it though. One of the thugs does see a medium on television, John Lloyd (Bryan Batt). We learn that he is a fraud, but they don’t. They go to his house to host a séance to communicate with Cliff. They also bring his girlfriend as a way to help as well.

To be honest, this was probably my least favorite segment in this film. I get why it is here as it is dealing with the deadly sin of greed. The deaths in this segment were probably the best part, but they weren’t that great. I find it interesting that we see John is a fraud, but then does succeed in contacting Cliff. It does fit the EC/Tales from the Crypt style storytelling in that the thugs and John are doing horrible things. Cliff gets his revenge and everyone is punished.

The third story is Date Night. We have two guys, Ty (Alexander Biglane) and Kahad (Greg Tarzen Davis), heading to a meet a girl Ty met on Tinder. He lied about them working in the movie industry. They both are actresses. When they arrive, they see the house is nicer than they thought. They play a game, but Ty has other plans. He puts something in their drinks. Things don’t go quite as they plan though.

Now the subject matter for this one is very relevant. Date rape is something that has been a problem since even back when I was in college. I thought it was a good subtext to this story. I like the twist as to what the truth is about these young women. I don’t feel nearly as bad to what happens with the two guys for what they were planning. It is interesting though that the girls were really into them, so it doesn’t make sense on their part. I also like the concept that both sets are predators, just in different ways. It also makes online dating even scarier as they are both using it for similar, yet different reasons.

The final story before getting back to the wraparound is The Sacrifice. This jumps back and forth between the past and present. It tells the tale of Emmett Till (Christopher Paul Horne) as he is beaten and lynched for talking to a white woman back in 1955. As we see this play out, it is directly influencing Henry Bradley (Kendrick Cross). He is a black councilman in Mississippi. His wife, Emily (Jillian Batherson) is pregnant and had a miscarriage previously. They are on high alert something bad could happen again. Henry’s mother is upset with him for supporting the Republican candidate who wants him to do shady things to win the election. He has to make a decision when things in the past can be changed to alter the future.

This was another story that I wasn’t expecting to hit me as hard as it did. I won’t get too much into my political beliefs, but this film is an interesting look at those who are voting against their own people. Henry brings up a good point that Emmet and other civil rights leaders in the past did what they could for everyone to have the right to vote. Henry is taking advantage of that right, but he is also setting his own people back to do it. It is an interesting dynamic and it really made me think. All I’ll say on my own beliefs is that I try to vote to what will help me and those that are less fortunate.

Acting for this film did leave something to be desired though. I really liked Clarence Williams III in the original and I normally like the same actor to portray that role. Being who Mr. Simms really is, I don’t mind David taking on the role, as I think it is plausible. Some of the acting isn’t good though. A lot of it is over the top, especially from white actors as they are trying to portray the worst of the race. By playing it over the top though, it makes for the reveals that much better. The acting is just a step back from the original.

The pacing of the film is well done though. For having a run time that is over 95 minutes, I never really got bored with it. The tension for each story is there to the reveal, aside from The Medium. I also thought the tension for the overall film builds with each story. It is shot pretty well also. The effects though do have some issues. They went with CGI for this one and some of them don’t really look that good. I wish they would have gone more practical as it would have looked more realistic.

Now with that said, I’ve heard a lot of people not really liking this film. I do think it isn’t as good and was a step back compared to the original. I do think the subtext and the deeper meaning of the stories was good, which is really the heart of that film. The acting is bit too over the top and the effects aren’t great with many of them going CGI. It still is paced well. The score of the film didn’t really stand out, but it also didn’t hurt the film in my eyes either. I would say that this film is still above average. If you liked the first, then give this one a viewing.


My Rating: 6 out of 10