Snow White: A Tale Of Terror

Snow White: A Tale Of Terror

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Snow White: A Tale Of Terror

The odd thing about the latest version of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale Snow White is that while Tale Of Terror is far bloodier and gorier than the beloved Disney version, it isn't necessarily any more faithful to its source material. Instead, the filmmakers have attempted to place the story within a social context, setting it during the height of the Crusades and the bubonic plague, and changing the happy-go-lucky seven dwarves into a raggedy band of socially ostracized misfits. In theory, it's an interesting idea, but like most of the ideas in Tale Of Terror, it's never really developed into anything; it's just thrown in and then tossed aside. Monica Keena (Ripe) plays the title character, a beautiful teenager whose peaceful existence is threatened when her beloved father (Sam Neill) marries Evil Queen Sigourney Weaver. Soon, Keena has fled the Queen and taken up with the surly bunch of outcasts who inhabit the forest, including hunky Gil Bellows, a brooding coal miner who takes a shine to the runaway princess. For a while, it seems like Tale Of Terror is an attempt to deconstruct the fairy tale's primal themes, along the lines of Neil Jordan's far superior Angela Carter adaptation The Company Of Wolves, but that tactic is soon abandoned in favor of bloody crucifixions, cannibalism, people being thrown out windows, and other staples of the slasher genre. The performances are a mixed bag, too: Keena isn't given much to do other than look scared, while Neill is stuck with a ridiculous Prince Valiant wig and an underwritten role. But Weaver delivers a spooky, unhinged performance that is easily the best thing about this muddled, confused and disappointing film.

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