Tales from the Hood 3 [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - America - Universal Pictures
Review written by and copyright: James-Masaki Ryan (22nd November 2020).
The Film

"Tales from the Hood 3" (2020)

William (played by Tony Todd) is taking young Brooklyn (played by Sage Arrindell) through dark and scary woods and ruins to eventually meet her mother. As the little girl is scared, she asks William to tell some stories to comfort her but unfortunately, he says he is not a storyteller. In exchange, she decides to narrate a series of tall tales to him, which are not exactly the happiest stories for a child to tell...

The third installment of the series following "Tales from the Hood" in 1995 and "Tales from the Hood 2" in 2018, "Tales from the Hood 3" came surprisingly quick to production and release from original creators Rusty Cundieff and Darin Scott. It follows the same formula as the first two films, with a storyteller narrating a series of tales in the anthology film genre. While many horror anthology focus on minimal storytelling and quick scares with varying effect for each film and each episode, the "Tales from the Hood" series took an interesting social twist by reflecting the black experience in the tales. Whether it was through cultural aspects or historical struggles, the stories reflected much more of the real horror of police profiling, domestic violence, poverty, or gang violence while embedding supernatural and other genre tropes for digestion. Like the first two films, the third film also follows the structure of four tales told with a main story wrapping around the storytelling.

The first tale “Ruby Gates” has David (played by London Brown) consulting one final family to move out of an apartment complex, ready for demolishment and rebuilding. But the Bradfords (played by Donny Lucas and Rachel McLaren) reluctant to move away at the moment, as their young son Jahron Wilson) is going through chemotherapy, and they do not want to issue more stress on him. But with David being pressured on time for the project to commence, secretly hires Mickey (played by Arne MacPherson), an arsonist to start a fire that would cause enough damage to damage the building and force the family to move out. But when the fire goes out of control and the family is killed by the fire, David becomes haunted by the burned spirts. With the first piece directed by Scott, it looks at the age old tale of vengeful ghosts, but rather than hauntings further on in years or with innocent people targeted by the wrath, it is directly on the person involved. Though sympathy is there for the audience towards the family, the story does seem a bit rushed and predictable, using standard tricks like the jump scares with the spirits and the use of young Ethan's bouncing basketball as a way to evoke scares. It may get the job done, but it felt like a weak start to the film.

The second tale "The Bunker" features Denton Wilbury (played by Cooper Huckabee) - a lone white supremacist living in a bunker in the middle of nowhere, who speaks on a ham radio about reclaiming the country, keeping guns for protection, and distrust for the government. At times he exits his bunker to yell at people standing outside and warning them that his land is his land and they would not be able to move him away. While it does seem disturbing that the "Hood" series would devote one episode to an almost entirely solo piece to a white racist character, it is one that actually provokes the most thought especially with the twist ending. The rants and raves by the Denton character and his thoughts towards minorities and his fear that his country is being overturned by the opposition is exactly the fears that many Americans on the far right have been experiencing and become all too evident in the more recent years during the Trump presidency. The story here doesn't give much in terms of sympathy or a positive note to the character, but instead is like a mirror to the hidden America coming to light and the absurdities of the racist ways of thinking. It's hard to fully discuss the piece without spoiling the ending, but while it might seem like a pipe dream that something like the end could happen, a world without supremacists and racist thinking would obviously be a wonderous dream come true for all. Huckabee does almost entirely a one man show for the piece, and he is downright nasty and terrifying in his performance while bordering on wacky insanity. Definitely worth seeing for the disturbing performance and message.

The third tale “Operatic” has Chela (played by Savannah Basley), an aspiring singer hired to be a house companion for the elderly and eccentric Ms. Benoit (played by Lynn Whitfield). Benoit does the same thing every day, watching a film of her stage performance of the opera "Carmen" from decades ago, which was the only public performance she ever made. But with the tiresome days and Benoit saying that Chela's voice is not strong enough to be a real singer, it puts some devilish thoughts in the frustrated Chela's mind. A plan is made to kill off Ms. Benoit and inherit her money as a benefactor, but it seems like Benoit is one step ahead of her in an even more devilish way. Killing for inheritance may be one of the oldest and sketchiest scams known, and for this case there are other mysterious factors to be found. How did Benoit get enough money to live in a lavish mansion without a career in music? How did the music producer Park (played by Jaime M. Callica) get in contact with Benoit to have Chela meet her? This could be seen as a cautionary tale of greed and rightfully so. It's finally in this third segment that brutal gore comes in as well as some "Suspiria"-esque paranoia and feel with the theme and the lighting effects. Although there was the interesting historical aspect of Ms. Benoit talking about her past and the setback she had because of racial inequality, it would have been stronger to establish this in a lengthier flashback with the events leading up to her performing "Carmen" in 1958. Instead it is left to hearsay and the impact feels lesser, and more emphasis placed on the more supernatural end to the story.

The final tale of “Dope Kicks” shows the karmic story of Percy (played by Patrick Abellard) . Nicknamed the "Punch and Run Bandit" by the police and media, he is an elusive thief that knocks out people and steals. Whether they are young or old, male or female, he is only in it for the money and not worrying about the consequences. On the news, the granddaughter of a victim (played by Ese Atawo) curses the bandit by saying that he will one day feel the pain of one of his victims. Obviously not believing a word she says, he continues with his thieving ways, stealing a pair of gold sneakers. But little does he know, the curse is real, and much more sinister than he could imagine. The best is saved for last, with a dose of comedy, jump scares, and gore with the voodoo cursed story. With Percy not being able to remove the golden shoes is reminiscent of "Onibaba", "In Fabric" among many other horror works featuring a piece of clothing or accessory that becomes unremovable, and curses the main character. While it may seem funny seeing Percy pee and poop himself uncontrollably, but things become much more horrific as the story moves forward with a satisfyingly gory finish.

"Tales from the Hood 3" follows the formula that the first two films created, but the social commentary element seems to be much lesser compared to the previous films, and instead placing more emphasis on normal scares and horror cliches. There are some good moments to be had and due to the low budget nature, some of the CGI effects are not very effective and very few practical effects are used. The wraparound segments “The Mouths of Babes and Demons” with Tony Todd also feels lacking as it doesn't have the Mr. Simms character from the first two films and instead has a little girl telling the stories. Expected was Tony Todd to narrate the stories, and is an unusual choice to be made. Although Cundieff and Scott stated that the third film is better than the second with their experience from "2" being the template, it feels a bit lacking in the story department overall. The film was released direct to streaming, digital, and home video like the previous entry in 2020, only two years after the second film and 25 years after the first. They have expressed making "Tales from the Hood" as a television series which would fit right well with recent reboots like "Creepshow" finding an audience. Though the second and third features have been the weaker of the series (also like "Creepshow"), an episodic TV series might work for "Hood" in the future. There are more stories to tell and an audience is always there for them.

Note this is a region ALL Blu-ray

Video

Universal presents the film in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio in 1080p AVC MPEG-4. Shot and edited digitally, the image looks pristine with deep blacks, vibrant colors, and bright whites throughout. The gorgeous interiors of Ms. Benoit's mansion and the nightmarish second half looks great, just as the dark bunker and the extremely bright segments outside of it. There are no artifacts, errors, or problems with the transfer, and the single layered BD-25 holds the film quite well without any issues of compression.

The film's runtime is 102:14.

Audio

English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
The 5.1 track is lossless and sounds very good throughout, using the surrounds to emphasize the atmosphere and scares. The dialogue is almost always centered and well balanced with the music and effects. There are not many music cues or songs used, though the ending credits theme does sound excellent with the surround. There are no issues with dropouts or other anomalies.

There are optional English HoH subtitles for the feature in a white font. Like all HoH subtitles from Universal, the captions are placed below (and sometimes above) the speaker, rather than always being centered.

Extras

There are no extras. There is no menu and the film starts when the disc is inserted. The pop-up button brings up a "Subtitles On/Off" function and that is all there is.

The trailer, which is not on the disc, is embedded below.

Packaging

In some ways, the cover art gives a hint to the twist ending, so it's confusing to see why Universal went with that.

Overall

"Tales from the Hood 3" is in line with the second film, being a disappointment overall but having some great moments here and there. There are scares to be seen and gore as well but the social commentary that made the first film stand out seems to be put on the backburner unfortunately. Universal's Blu-ray has a great transfer with the video and audio, but has no extras.

The Film: C Video: A Audio: A Extras: F- Overall: C

 


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