Studio: The Asylum
Director: Jared Cohn
Writer: Gabriel Campisi
Producer: David Michael Latt
Stars: Eric Balfour, Bianca A. Santos, Romeo Miller, Patrick Muldoon, Marina Sirtis, Heather Tom
A legend heralding a supernatural guardian becomes a small town¡¯s best hope of combating a savage werewolf uprising.
Does a movie like ¡°Little Dead Rotting Hood¡± really require a review? Based only on the silly title and production byline for The Asylum, you and I already know the most optimistic accolade a B-movie of this caliber could ever achieve might be, ¡°it is what it is, I guess.¡±
Bianca A. Santos of ¡°Ouija¡± (review here), a credit someone in PR considers important enough to top the box, stars as Samantha. The story starts swiftly with a wolf chasing Samantha and tearing out her throat before barely one minute has had a chance to elapse. Grandmother, Marina Sirtis of ¡°Star Trek: The Next Generation¡± in an appearance lasting less than three minutes, buries Sam in the forest floor with a cloak, sword, and self-sacrificing blood that passes on her mysterious mantle as ¡°Keeper of the Forest.¡± It¡¯s only a matter of time before Samantha is reborn as a supernatural human/witch/wolf hybrid empowered to battle a prophesized werewolf revolution.
A long matter of time, actually. Samantha claws out of the ground ten movie minutes later, then disappears for the next half hour while wolves rip apart college kids and canoodling couples in the small town of Stillwater over the course of two days. Eric Balfour takes center stage in the interim as a pursed-brow sheriff whose inevitable duty is to sniff out the truth behind the attacks and team with Samantha to stop a creature conspiracy.
¡°Little Dead Rotting Hood¡± is a ¡°just a job¡± movie. As in, it is the kind of film made to satisfy a spot in a schedule and fill a production order for something ¡°ok¡± to be filler on a SyFy Saturday night. There is a place in genre entertainment for disposable projects that keep people working and never intend to have an earthshaking impact anyway. Think of them as the film equivalent of fast food. Let¡¯s just not kid anyone that anything in ¡°Little Dead Rotting Hood¡± could be described by a phrase more favorable than ¡°fine for what it is.¡±
Acting is fine. Cinematography is fine. There¡¯s actually a fair deal of professional production value from aerial camera establishing shots to well-lit sets. The sour taste comes from how deliberately slanted the entire thing is towards being distribution deal-friendly first and satisfying for consumers last.
¡°Little Dead Rotting Hood¡± is stuffed with inconsequential junk like a slow-motion striptease set to some song that was cheap to license, useless backstory bits about the sheriff¡¯s ex-wife and assorted townspeople who never develop in importance, and lines like ¡°the guy is nuttier than a bag of trail mix¡± constituting the scope of the dialogue¡¯s inventiveness. These things don¡¯t come from filmmakers challenging themselves with a high creative bar. They come from desires to fill nudity quotas and the appearance of having basic components for a dramatic feature.
I don¡¯t love mentioning marketing materials since filmmakers are infrequently involved in that side of the product. If they are, it is usually limited to providing rubber-stamp approvals. But frankly, the movie¡¯s content isn¡¯t robust enough to offer many talking points. So taking a cue from how the film is constructed, I need additional material to pad this piece to full length.
Even by keeping Samantha in ankle boots and cutoff shorts for the entire runtime, ¡°Little Dead Rotting Hood¡± doesn¡¯t really sexualize her character. Oddly though, three iterations of the poster art demonstrate a desire to do precisely that.
First, the model sees her face changed to one with a toothy snarl. I¡¯m not sure if both faces belong to the same woman or if either one even belongs to star Bianca A. Santos. Then, Red Rotting Hood¡¯s chest is accentuated by adding shadows, her shirt is torn to expose her midriff, and her navel is raised. Finally, a curling tribal tattoo is drawn onto her stomach, which is additionally puzzling since her character has no such mark in the movie. Although the script and story offer little inspiration for the imagination, some amusement comes from thinking of the strange art department conversation that brought about this evolution of inessential alterations.
With intentionally ambiguous ends for a trio of key characters, ¡°Little Dead Rotting Hood¡± stops on a setup for a sequel, potentially an ongoing series. That¡¯s wishful thinking for a variety of reasons, the top one being that no matter how fast a second installment makes it to market, actual viewers will be unable to remember whether or not they saw this first one.
¡°Little Dead Rotting Hood¡± is a movie you¡¯ll shrug your shoulders at once and then never consider again. Assigning a grade seems so arbitrary at this point that it doesn¡¯t even matter what words are used. On a scale of cucumber to eyebrow, ¡°Little Dead Rotting Hood¡± scores a countertop, maybe even purple.
Review Score: 35