Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Snow White: A Tale of Terror (1997)

Director: Michael Cohn

Writers: Thomas E. Szollosi, Deboragh Serra, Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm

Composer: John Ottman

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Sam Neill, Gil Bellows, Taryn Davis, Brian Glover, david Conrad, Monica Keena, Anthony Brophy, Frances Cuka, Chris Bauer, John Edward Allen, Miroslav Taborsky, Andrew Tiernan, Bryan Pringle, Dale Wyatt, Joanna Roth, Karen Hart, Rozmberska Kapela

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The fairytale is over.

Plot: Based somewhat more authentically on the Grimm Brothers' story of a young woman who is disliked by her stepmother, the film includes the talking mirror, a poisoned apple, and some ruffian gold (not diamond) miners (and they aren't dwarfs or cute). It takes place at the time of the Crusades, and depicts the attitudes of the wealthy and the peasant classes toward one another.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

I really dig the attempt at turning a dark fairy tale into a darker horror picture.  I say attempt because the first half is great until Lilliana (Snow White as played by Roth) runs away and comes across the miners where it takes a few turns at an action adventure picture.  It's not a deal killer but it's the second half of the picture that feels like the writers were searching for ways to keep the story going until the apple scene, which by the way, Lilliana is only sleeping for eternity for about five minutes of screen time before she's awoken so she can face the evil Claudia (Weaver).  Weaver comes off best in the acting department.  Roth is OK, too, I guess.  But Sam Neill's role is rather thankless.  I don't know who could have done something with the role of Lilliana's father, Frederick. I like the darkness of it all but there's something missing that would elevate this into something special and I'm not sure what it is but I have a feeling it's in that second half.  The Universal DVD's sole extra is the international theatrical trailer.  It's funny but the Universal logo that plays just before the film is formatted to fit a 16:9 screen but the film isn't.  That's just rubbing it in your face that they released a less than desired product.

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