Hood Of Horror (2006)

DVD Cover (Xenon Pictures)
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Connections: After Dark Horrorfest

A hip hop horror anthology of three tales of terror told by the Hound of Hell that revolve around the residents of an inner-city neighborhood whose actions determine where they will go in the afterlife. --IMDb
Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg
Hawthorne James
Hawthorne James
Gabriel Pimentel
Gabriel Pimentel
Irina Voronina
Irina Voronina
Tanisha Jones
Tanisha Jones
Review by Chad
Added: September 16, 2007
There are two reasons that most people would write this off as a piece of cinematic trash without even giving it a chance, and both of those reasons are found in the title: "Snoop Dogg's" and "Hood of Horror." You see, there's a recent trend of former and current rappers starring in low-budget "horror movies" that are only horrific in the sense that the viewer actually paid money to see it, and a film that comes to us courtesy of Snoop Dogg? Well, let's just say that ol' Snoop is known for a lot of things, but a great movie personality isn't one of them. Then there's that whole "Hood of Horror" thing, which doesn't exactly scream "This is going to be an awesome horror flick!", but instead, something more along the lines of "This is going to be a cheesy rip-off of Tales From the Crypt, only, geared towards the hip-hop crowd!" However, I love a good anthology horror flick, so I had to give it a shot nonetheless. The results? Surprising, to say the very least.

We kick things off with an anime introduction that shows us how Devon - a gangbanging thug from the ghetto - is transformed into the Cribkeeper (Snoop Dogg) courtesy of a deal with Satan himself. This piece of the film really isn't all that important aside from introducing as to the narrator, but I have to admit that the animation style and the content looked really good. With that out of the way, we move on to the meat of the film: three short stories detailing the horrors of the hood as told by our man The Cribkeeper.

The first story tells the tale of Posie (Daniella Alonso), a young lady who has been leaving quite the mark on her neighborhood... literally. She's a graffiti artist who goes around spraypainting her name on all of the walls and buildings, and one day, she stumbles upon a demon (Danny Trejo) who grants her the ability to kill off all of the low-life thugs by simply spraypainting an 'X' through their names (because, you know, every thug spraypaints his name somewhere). When she abuses her power, it doesn't take long before the demon of the ghetto comes calling...

This debut offering from the film certainly didn't fill me with hope for the rest of the running time; to put it simply, it was lackluster at best. Sure, there's some great gore sequences (I don't think I've ever seen a 40-ounce used as a weapon in this fashion before) and some neat effects (I particularly enjoyed the CGI used for the spraypaint effects), but overall, this one just fell flat. The reason is simple: there's really nothing enjoyable here save for the gore, and the payoff at the end is just downright horrible. The "evil" that Posie did to warrant her punishment really wasn't anything to get upset about, and it just seemed like they were desperately trying to come up with some way to end this one quickly. That's about the only good thing that I can say for the story as a whole: it ended quickly.

Thankfully, the next one more than makes up for the disappointing start. In this one, we catch up with a Southern redneck named Tex (Anson Mount) whose father has recently died, leaving him a considerable fortune. There's a small clause in daddy's will though, a clause which states that Tex and his whitebread wife Tiffany (Brande Roderick) must spend a full year in the hood with daddy's old war buddies with the rationale being that these men will help instill some character into his son. Naturally, it doesn't work as planned: Tex is an absolute asshole and quickly takes over the building, leaving the veterans confined to a small room with no medical attention when needed, mere scraps for food, and constant abuse while they live the good life upstairs in their "suite." After a particularly nasty event, the vets decide that enough is enough, and the unofficial leader of the group (Ernie Hudson) readies the troops for action against the enemy upstairs.

Now this was a story that felt like something straight out of Tales From the Crypt, and it was also by far the highlight of the entire film. It's a typical revenge story, granted, but it's done with such style and convincing performances that one simply can't help but get behind it. Anson Mount is absolutely evil in his role and gets the crowd rooting for his blood, Ernie Hudson is as good as ever in his leading role, and when the two sides collide at the end... well, let's just say that it's a doozy.

The final story is a step down in terms of quality, but it's still an acceptable entry nonetheless. In it, we find a young rapper named Sod (Pooch Hall) praying to God to just give him one chance to make it big, and if he makes it, he'll do his best to help the community. Just a quick moment later, Sod meets Quon (Aries Spears), another rapper who is looking to make it big. The two team up and eventually become the hottest thing the rap world has ever seen, but when Quon winds up dead under mysterious circumstances, Sod finds himself having to answer to a higher power. Lin Shaye, Dallas Page, and Jason Alexander all make appearances here, and each was a pleasure to watch.

Alright, so it wasn't as good as the previous story, but it wasn't as bad as the first one either. This one is just sort of there: it's another tale of revenge done up Tales-style, and while all of the ingredients are there for a successful entry, it just never really clicked together as anything more than "well, that was alright" for me. There were some good moments to be found here and some nifty gore effects, but in the end, it was simply an average offering.

So, what we have here is a mixed bag of goodness. The one story alone makes it worth the rental fee, the final entry is alright, and the first one has some good gore effects going for it, so it all basically works out in the end. Give this one a shot if you're a fan of Tales From the Crypt or the various other horror anthologies; it may be aimed at an urban audience (but not quite so much as Tales From the Hood was), but it's still enjoyable for all of the horror fans who enjoy morbid tales of revenge, fountains of blood, and plenty of dark humor. 7/10.
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