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Featured DVD Review: Snow White: A Deadly Summer

March 19th, 2012

Snow White: A Deadly Summer - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Video on Demand

There are a number of films based on the Snow White legend that are coming out this year. Two of them are theatrical releases, but many, like Snow White: A Deadly Summer, are going direct-to-DVD. This does lower expectations somewhat, but will this movie be a diamond in the rough? Or is it a film best left alone?

The Movie

The film begins with Snow and her boyfriend taking a joyride in a stolen car. But the fun ends when the two are caught by the police. This is the latest incident for Snow, and it's the last straw for her step mother, Eve, who is convinced Snow is acting up because Eve married her father, Grant. Eve convinces Grant to send Snow to Camp Allegiance, a disciplinary camp for troubled youths. On the surface, this makes sense given Snow's behavior troubles. However, there's something wrong with Eve. For instance, she talks to herself in the mirror and is contemplating killing Snow.

That night she has nightmare about a man in a hoodie stalking her, before she is kidnapped out of her bed in real life. The men hauling her out of bed are not home invaders, but work for Camp Allegiance. When she arrives at the camp, she is introduced to Hunter, who runs the place, and is less emotionally stable than her step-mom. (He threatens to beat her if she speaks without permission, which is technically assault, since she is a minor.) At lunch some of her fellow campers get to talking about why they are there and Erica (Hunter Ansley Wryn, who played the young River in Serenity) says she's going to get out of there. She learns from another camper, Mya (Camille Cregan) that only two people have escaped from Camp Allegiance. She did her research on the place before she was sent here. Previously, it was a regular summer camp, until one camper went nuts and killed another, and she was never caught.

That night, Snow has a dream about the night she was caught joyriding with her boyfriend. Only instead of her boyfriend, it's Erica driving. The next day, the campers are told that Erica tried to get away by stealing the camp's car and got into a fatal accident. That death can be written off as a tragedy, but when other campers start dying, there's clearly something else happening at Camp Allegiance.

I should have lowered my expectations even more. First of all, outside of the main character's name, the evil step mother, and an apple, this film has nothing to do with the legend. It's just a very generic attempt at a teenage slasher. It's not even a very good teenage slasher. The pacing is glacial. The movie is only 75 minutes long from opening to closing credits and it is filled with filler shots of scenery, not to mention repeated dream sequences of someone in a hoodie. The actual plot probably could have been compressed into a 40-minute short film. There are two main surprise twists in the movie, the first is so obvious it should surprise no one, while the second is so stupid it ruins the rest of the movie. The kills are unoriginal and poorly executed with roughly half the people being killed off screen. Even if you are looking for low expectations Boobs and Blood, you will be disappointed, as it is a PG-13 movie.

It's not a complete disaster. Shanley Caswell isn't bad in the lead role. She's in the upcoming Detention and with good early reviews, she'll probably get more work off of that film. Also, it was fun to see Hunter Ansley Wryn again, as I am a huge fanboy, so seeing anyone associated with one of my many geekdoms is a treat. (By a strange coincidence, she was also in an episode of Victorious that I just reviewed.) Also, while there were too many shots of scenery, at least it looked good. Those scenes were shot on Vancouver Island, so this is partially an example of my Pro-Canada bias.

The Extras

The only real extra on the DVD is an audio commentary track, but I can't imagine a lot of people wanting to sit through the movie a second time to listen to it. There's also the trailer and a still gallery.

The Verdict

Snow White: A Deadly Summer is dull. It's as simple as that. Had I not had to sit through the whole thing to write this review, I would have given up about 20 minutes in. The DVD isn't featureless, but neither it nor the Video on Demand are worth checking out.

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Filed under: Video Review, Snow White: A Deadly Summer