BASED SOMEWHAT MORE AUTHENTICALLY ON THE GRIMM BROTHERS' STORYOF A YOUNG WOMAN WHO IS UNLIKED BY HER STEPMOTHER, THE FILM INCLUDES THE TALKING MIRROR, A POISONED APPLE, AND SOME RUFFIAN GOLD MINERS (AND THEY AREN'T DWARFS ... more »OR CUTE).« less
Michael R Gates | Nampa, ID United States | 03/09/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The cutesy Disney cartoon this ain't. Although the BASIC story structure remains, SNOW WHITE: A TALE OF TERROR is an interpretation that is much closer in tone and mood to the original somber tale by the Brothers Grimm, and in many ways it is actually even darker. Instead of a kiddie flick, then, what director Michael Cohn and crew serve up is a top-notch gothic horror film.In this gloomier version of the famous fable, many of the familiar elements are wryly skewed. For example, the seven men who house the heroine (here called Lilliana, or Lilli, rather than Snow White) during her sojourn in the forest are not cutsie dwarves--although one is actually dwarfish--but are instead a bunch of grubby, ruffians who earn their living working mines. At first they want to use the girl to obtain a ransom from her wealthy father, but they soon develop a sort of fatherly affection for her. Another clever twist occurs when the hero revives Lilli after she has fallen comatose from eating the cursed apple. Instead of awakening her with an enchanted kiss, he repeatedly pushes on her midriff out of desperation, thereby dislodging the piece of fruit with a sort of primitive version of the Heimlich Maneuver. Such changes in narrative and characterization are perceptively clever and make the tale much more realistic and believable than its animated ancestor. However, despite this deliciously sardonic tweaking, remaining at the story's core is its familiar and enduring moral, to wit, that basic goodness will always triumph over hatefulness and vanity because the latter are ultimately self-destructive.In the role of the wicked stepmother (as well as her evil mirror's reflection), Sigourney Weaver delivers a superbly malevolent performance as she schemes to destroy her beautiful stepdaughter. The lovely Monica Keena--most recently seen by horror fans playing the buxom Lori Campbell in 2003's FREDDY VS. JASON--does a very affecting job as the object of Weaver's disdain (i.e., Lilli), and Gil Bellows is very convincing and interesting as the hero and tacit love interest. Sam Neill does a fine job as the heroine's mostly clueless father, and the film's realism is further bolstered by outstanding supporting performances from talents like Brian Glover, Frances Cuka, David Conrad, Anthony Brophy, Christopher Bauer, and numerous others.With SNOW WHITE: A TALE OF TERROR, director Michael Cohn and scripters Tom Szollosi & Deborah Serra recreate the tenebrous tone of the Grimm Brother's original story while, at the same time, they subtly thumb their noses at the saccharine, white-washed Disney interpretation. Mike Southon's beautiful cinematography is deliberately on the warm side of the spectrum, generating a autumnal ambiance perfectly suited to the plot. And the creative art direction by Peter Russell, outstanding pseudo-medieval production design of Gemma Jackson, and clever "period" costume designs from Marit Allen and Charles Knode add detail to the film that greatly enhances both the spooky ambiance and the fairy-tale quality of this twisted fable.The DVD from Universal Studios Home Video offers a clean, crisp digital transfer in the original widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1. (Alas, it is only letterbox widescreen and not anamorphic, but it still looks beautiful.) The only real bonus feature is a trailer for the film, which curiously identifies it using one of its numerous alternate titles. The disc is very reasonably priced, though, so fans of old-fashioned gothic horror or grim Grimm fairy tales are hereby advised to add SNOW WHITE: A TALE OF TERROR to their collections."
Mirror, Mirror... Who is the Scariest of All?
Joshua Koppel | Chicago, IL United States | 05/28/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This version of the classic story stars Sigourney Weaver and Sam Neill and is far from the cheery animated version you may be familiar with..Sam Neill plays Lillian's father. After the death of his wife he marries Sigourney Weaver. Things are fine at first but the aging Weaver begins to feel jealousy towards her step-daughter. She feels she is in competition for her husband's affections. With the help of her mysterious magic mirror (a frightening piece of furniture if I ever saw one) she begins making plans to be number one.But as Weaver makes her plans she also begins to sink into deeper and deeper madness as she eliminates the servants, her step-daughter and even her brother. But Lillian manages to survive and meets a band of outlaw miner's hoping to find a rich strike. She manages to win their hearts in time and eventually returns to challenge her step-mother.This is a very dark telling of the Snow White story. It is more tragic than many tellings in that the step-mother is mad and not evil. The girl who plays Lillian is excellent. Her ability to show powerful emotion with a single look really adds to the atmosphere of this dark film.If you are interested in seeing a good dark tale then Snow White could be just what you are looking for."
A visual masterpiece
Torkvar | Boston, MA | 07/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is easily one of my top ten favorites. The whole movie is amazing, with brilliant cinematography, beautiful lighting, and breath-taking scenery and use of color. The costuming is excellent. The film follows the Grimms' Snow White fairytale, but the story is told from a much more sinister point of view. This film pulls no punches and has a very dark, gothic atmosphere. Not a cute little Disney fairy tale. Some really good acting from Sigourney Weaver, and Monica Keena makes an excellent Snow White. (She is absolutely gorgeous! ) Lots of scenes shot on location in Czech forests, castles, churches, etc. Takes place during the late Middle Ages. A very exciting film with superb visuals and a very chilling atmosphere. Don't miss it!"
A New approach and it works!
AJ | Delaware, USA | 02/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Snow White as horror movie, it sounds preposterous, but in fact it is quite a good idea. Grimm's fairytales can get pretty gruesome too. The creators of this movie made something special of it. Sam Neill is a bit insipid as the father, but Sigourney Weaver as the stepmother plays one of her best parts ever and obviously enjoys being evil. The whole atmosphere of the movie is very gothic and it looks great. It may seems somewhat degrading for horror fans to watch a movie named Snow White, but as the posters say: The Fairy Tale is Over! It is, but what we get in return is a lot better. Personally I am not much of a horror fan, but in this case I could watch this movie time and again."
The way fairy tales were meant to be seen...
email@example.com | california, usa | 09/10/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For people that think this movie is a little too dark, just remember this: when fairy tales were originally told, they were meant to be scary. They were intended to teach moral lessons too children. Then Disney came along and candy coated everything to make it more easily digestable. This movie is definitely not candy coated. It is dark, and violent, but it is also very beautiful. This is the way Grimm's stories were meant to be told!!!"