31 In 31: Tales From The Hood
What would a review of Halloween films be without a Tales From The Crypt rip-off?
What we have here are four stories with a wrap-around segment. As I did with my prior review about V/H/S I will review each story separately.
Welcome to my Mortuary
The wrap-around segment consists of three stereotypical gang members who arrive at a local funeral home looking for "shit". What is "the shit"? It's never explained, though one can assume drugs. If it is drugs, why not just say that? I mean if some stereotypical gang members come up asking me about "shit" I'd be dead cause I have no idea what they are talking about. Whatever this "shit" is, the gang members know that the "shit" is in the funeral home and want it badly. Unfortunately, the funeral owner Mr. Simms (Clarence Williams III) is very eccentric and decides to tell them spooky tales first while the gang members fumble around the place. Eventually, the final story ties into the three gang members' story and it is revealed in predictable fashion that they are dead, Mr. Simms is Satan and no one gets any "shit". Sorry.
Rogue Cop Revelation
What an awful title for this segment. Anyway, four stereotypical white cops who also happen to be racists... yeah, I was shocked too, led by Newton (Michael Massee) along with a new cop who is black, Clarence Smith (Anthony Griffith) and is not racist... again, I was shocked, all arrive at a routine traffic stop of black politician, Martin Moorehouse (Tom Wright). The stop does not go as planned and the cops kill the politician, plant drugs on him and send him into the water. One year later, Clarence is no longer a cop, an alcoholic and suffers from guilt. All the cops, with Clarence, gather at the grave of Martin who is then resurrected. Martin exacts his revenge on the four, white cops then berates Clarence for not doing anything to stop his death. Martin then makes it appear that Clarence killed everyone. Nothing new and very, very predictable. Fin.
Boys Do Get Bruised
Writer and Director Rusty Cundieff stars as Richard Garvy, a sensitive teacher to Walter (Brandon Hammond) who, on a daily basis, sports new bruises on his body. Walter continuously mentions being tormented by a monster, who Richard brings up to his mother Sissy (Paula Jai Parker) and her boyfriend Carl (David Alan Grier). I am not a David Alan Grier fan, but his, albeit, brief performance in this story steals the show. His role is dark and frightening and pulled off very well. Considering the types of horror stories in this film, this is probably the best as for the most part, the horror of this film is really grounded.
Alright, the corny segments return with Corbin Bernsen playing Duke Metger: stereotypical Southern, racist senator. Duke resides in a former plantation which Black and Jewish persons protest on a daily basis. Duke has a large painting of a voodoo witch on one of his walls. After the death of his image maker, dolls of the witch appear and attempt to extract revenge on the racist Duke. Corbin Bernsen hams it up as his anger against the revenge-seeking dolls becomes more violent. This is one of the more predictable stories of the bunch and the only entertainment of this film is the cheese ball factor. Nothing special here.
Stereotypical gang member Crazy K (Lamont Bentley) attempts to kill and old rival. Instead he is almost killed by three stereotypical gang members (I wonder who they are?). After recovering, Crazy K is serving life in prison when he is visited by Dr. Cushing (Rosalind Cash) who transfers him to a separate facility. Here, Crazy K is put in place with a crazy white supremacist (Not Corbin Bernsen) then placed into a sensory deprivation chamber where all the persons he has killed haunt him. Dr. Cushing offers him a chance to forgive and save his soul. Crazy K defies her with his arrogance and it is revealed that these are his final moments on the street after being shot. A decent attempt at a morality tale.
Overall, this is a mixed bag of a film that worked better when I was younger and didn't know better. As it is, there is a decent mood and about two stories are worth watching and a really good performance from David Alan Grier. If you can get past the annoying wrap around where gang members supposedly use about four words in their entire vocabulary, you might find yourself a decent horror anthology. Unfortunately, an attempt could have been made to not be so stereotypical regarding just about every character in the film. This could have been better, but certainly could have been worse. Just don't expect the reinvention of the wheel.