"Hood of Horror" is "Tales from the Crypt" for urban audiences, presenting rapper Snoop Dogg as "The Cribkeeper," our host for this unwieldy horror anthology film. Made for what looks like a crisp $20 and a dumpster filled with called-in favors, "Hood" is a movie that squanders its great potential in the hunt for cheap laughs and lazy screenwriting.
"Hood," against all rational thought, actually starts off with promise. The first tale, focusing on a frustrated young woman (Daniella Alonso) who makes a deal with the devil (Danny Trejo) to exact true street justice on the local gangbangers, kicks off the film with a bang. This chapter finds the right tone and snappy pace, briskly detailing savage revenge flecked with urban comedy that's silly, but fits the mold that "Hood" is setting for itself. By the time we reach the moment when a gangsta slips on a spill of malt liquor and falls face first onto his own 40oz bottle, pushing it right through his brain, "Hood" proves itself as a chipper satire of urban culture and a sensible member of the gore club.
Soon though, it all turns to garbage. After the strong start, director Stacy Title starts losing her sense of adventure, along with the film's pacing and consistency. The second tale, featuring actors Anson Mount and Brande Roderick as two white opportunists looking to evict a group of African-American Vietnam vets (including Ernie Hudson) from their recently inherited building, seems to drag on for an eternity, void of wit or inventive special effects. Making Mount's character a seething, racist southern twit is the first hint that the initial clever attitude is gone, and urban pandering seeps into the film for good.
The situation grows even more dire for the final story, encompassing a wannabe rapper's request to God for fame, but finding only horror when it arrives. Here "Hood" gets dangerously close to minstrel show mentality that Spike Lee has always warned us about. Parading around ludicrous hip-hop lifestyle clichés with only the faintest hint of a wink, and production quality that borders on amateur porn, "Hood" finally reaches the point of utter contemptibility in this dreadful final movement.
As our host, Snoop Dogg sleepwalks through the whole enterprise, taking important time away from his blunts and dog shootings to remind us of the lessons we should be taking away from the script, and to create a...wait for it...music video! Our Cribkeeper (with some brave cast members) lays down a phat track in the finale, essentially retelling the whole damn film, just in case you happen to be 80 minutes late for your showtime. It's pretty much the height of silliness in a supremely silly production; sadly, its spirit of goofiness never translates to actual fun.
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