I know I keep picking horror films. It's not intentional, I swear. And I know from e-mails that people will contest these choices I make. The following will not help my cause going against those assertions in the least bit. Box Office Rec: Crossed Out, a short segment from the anthology horror film Snoop Dogg's Hood of Horror What good can come from an awful B-Movie featuring not just one rapper (two to be exact), but a former professional wrestler as well? One of the most entertaining short films I've ever seen, filled with surprising depth and interesting plot twists for a segment coming from this kind of film. Posie is a street kid. Her parents died in a murder suicide when she was a child and she only has a roof over her head due to the charity of the local church that is wearing thin. The pastor has agreed to board Posie under the condition she paint a large mural for the church. Posie is more concerned with tagging gang territory with her loving spray of flowery reds and pinks to ID her abilities. A confrontation with a gang overtagging her ID leads to an unusual encounter with a strange homeless man who gives her a tattoo and a power. She can bring life to the streets if she uses it right. But, with life comes death, and her powers can determine who lives and who dies with a single "x" of paint. What Tim Sullivan and Jacob Hair put to the page is nothing short of beauty. The back story is handled gracefully, with even the most disturbing acts of gang induced violence coming across like a street art masterpiece worthy of international acclaim. Posie's obsession with art is forever crossed with gang warfare by her father's simplified explanation that her mother's blood is "just like [her] finger paints." While the interim period between her parent's death and her encounter with the gang is never fully explained, it becomes clear in her interactions with others that she has fallen into the cycle of violence, using her words as weapons when her art could help foster peace. The transformation sequence is undoubtedly one of the best in recent memory, as expectations are flipped from what seems like an unwelcome sexual advance to a rebirth for the troubled Posie. Cryptically given her charge by the homeless man in the form of a silver tattoo from her knuckles to her elbow, Posie is skeptical of the claims. She's more obsessed with the quality of the ink than the power that may flow through her. The realization of power comes through her one shot at peace: the church. The first gang member she crosses out on the street winds up dead, and she only finds out when the pastor informs her that a grieving couple were his parents. When reminded of the opportunity to turn the other cheek and take advantage of an artist's true ally, a blank canvas, she runs the other way. The remainder of the story is told in a haunting montage of Posie's tagging and grieving parents leaving the parish. Perhaps the greatest achievement of the writing is how unexpected the ending is. Everything seems to be leading to an inevitable conclusion, and it does reach it, but in a beautiful, unexpected way. I'm not trying to claim Hood of Horror is a good film. Not in the least bit. The ideas are interesting but the execution, sans Crossed Out and the origin story, is severely laking. Fortunately, for the price of a DVD rental on Netflix, you, my dear reader, can use the power of DVD to watch only the first two portions of the film - an animated introduction to Snoop Dogg's character and the short Crossed Out. It does get gory, but the skill of the camera paints an even deeper meaning into the segment that goes beyond the writing. If Crossed Out were produced as a short, it would surely have won awards at film festivals for the writing, leading performance, direction, and production. It's innovative and intelligent, which is why the rest of Hood of Horror is such a let down.
Labels: Box Office rec