Rusty Cundieff is back for what is another racial based horror anthology that not so subtly comments on our current social and political climate. The original “Tales from the Hood” still packs immense relevance today, and Cundieff goes another bite at the jugular. While “Tales from the Hood 2” isn’t only packs two very strong horror stories surrounding racism and corruption, it’s still a fun, darkly comic satire with Keith David doing a stellar job as our new Satanic narrator. The budget is obviously lesser this time, but “Tales from the Hood 2” packs a wallop with a ton of biting satire.
Greasy politician Beech is building a high tech robot, named the RoboPatriot, that he plans to program two police the streets to help fund his private prisons. With the help of Mr. Simms, he plans to program the robots with stories and Mr. Simms has four yarns for him. Among them, there’s the story of two girls who break in to an African museum to steal a Golliwog doll and accidentally unlock its curse. Story two is about a reformed pimp who is killed by gang members anxious to find five million dollars he’s holding to help fund charities.
When they hold a fake TV psychic hostage to evoke the spirit of the gang member, things become sinister very quickly. Tale three centers on two would be rapists who get more than they bargained for when they drug their dates. Finally there’s the story of a young politician who is working with a racist Senator, despite his family’s protests. He grows concerned when his pregnant wife’s health deteriorates as she suffers nightmares of a young Black man she begins to realize is Emmett Till.
“Tales from the Hood 2” is a fun horror comedy that never pulls its punches in regards to its social commentary. There’s the slimy politician hoping to make America Great Again, the opportunistic engineers putting money over morality. Every single element is an obvious nod toward our social climate, including “Date Night” which ends as a commentary on the current rape culture. Cundieff uses the lower budget to his advantage, delivering some unnerving and surreal imagery. The climax to “Golliwog” especially practices that sense of weirdness. Thankfully there isn’t a weak tale in the foursome, even if “Date Night” and “Medium” have pretty predictable finales. The latter feels a bit like it took cribbed its themes from a “Tales from the Darkside” episode.
The cast all do bang up jobs, including Keith David who seems to be having a great time chewing the scenery as slick Mr. Simms. If there’s any complaints to be made it’s the fact that “Tales from the Hood 2” is severely inconsistent in tone and doesn’t ever really know how to balance out the dark comedy. The first and last segments, which are oddly enough the only very racially charged segments, take their messages in darker avenues. All the while the two segments in between are broader horror tales about revenge, and karma. While it’s not as sharp or ballsy as the first anthology, “Tales from the Hood 2” is a very good follow up with very good social commentary and an admirable sense of lunacy behind it.