‘Snow White: A Deadly Summer’ is a bad apple

Starring: Shanley Caswell, Maureen McCormick, Eric Roberts, Tim Abell
Director(s): David DeCoteau
Writer(s): Barbara Kymlicka

Shanley Caswell stars in 'Snow White: A Deadly Summer'
Shanley Caswell stars in ‘Snow White: A Deadly Summer’

It’s been 75 years since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and it seems like everyone except Disney is taking advantage. Capitalizing on the release ofMirror Mirror comes Snow White: A Deadly Summer on DVD.

This version brings things into the modern day, and its contribution to the legacy pretty much ends there.

Shanley Caswell stars as Snow Hoffman (I’m assuming Hoffman is her surname, since a sign reading it hangs up in her home). Apparently she is a delinquent who is out of control. The audience only sees her as an unknowing accomplice to a stolen joyride, but let’s take their word for it.

She lives with her father Grant (Eric Roberts) and, of course, her stepmother Eve (Maureen McCormick). Eve is able to convince Grant to send Snow off to a military discipline camp. Not because she cares anything for the girl’s well-being, but because her paranoia – represented, how else, by talking to herself in the mirror – has taken control and she needs to eliminate the threat.

Dragged off in the middle of the night, Snow then finds herself at Camp Allegiance along with seven other campers (get it?). In charge is Colonel Hunter (Tim Abell); he wants to turn these miscreants into well-behaved and productive members of society. His plan for this is by having them do tons of pushups and jumping jacks.

But someone else is cutting in, killing the campers one by one (or two at a time when the chance presents itself). For some reason, Snow has dreams that predict these deaths. Not that this extraneous ability helps anyone all that much, other than providing a convenient excuse for badly shot murder scenes.

I can appreciate that they’re doing something different than the usual trip to the Renaissance fair. I can appreciate making a film other than the exercises in soft porn that Davd DeCoteau frequently does. But I cannot appreciate the overall sloppy and unprofessional job done.

All that need be said about the awfulness of the movie is this: there are no night shots. What I mean is, the scenes which are supposed to take place at night and the audience is supposed to believe take place at night are very obviously not shot at night, but during the day with a blue hue to disguise. I don’t think I’ve seen that “technique” since the 1960s.

Things aren’t much better on the writing front. The characters aren’t given any more dimension than the bare minimum and pacing drags a lot in the middle, with the beginning particularly being much too brief. Later on in Snow’s dreams, we see glimpses of scenes of her with a psychologist which are so short that they are utterly worthless. Why not just film a full scene or two of a session and add it to the beginning? Shooting in the day wouldn’t be an issue there.

The extras are a commentary with the director and two of the actors (Chase Bennett and Jason-Shane Scott), a still gallery, the trailer, and trailers for other movies.

There is really no reason why someone should choose to see this over Mirror Mirror. Instead of breathtaking visuals, there are night shots during the day. Instead of a competent script, there’s a disjointed one. Instead of Julia Roberts, there’s Eric.

Rated: PG-13
Run Time: 1 hr., 25 mins.

And Palladino

And Palladino is a graduate of Connecticut College with a BA in film studies. He has been writing about films since the age of 14 when he first started contributing to the Home News Tribune newspaper in New Jersey. You may have seen him buying drugs on Person of Interest or in The Wolf of Wall Street around the office, and will be in the upcoming films Noah and A Little Game. He has also worked on the documentary for the band Leftover Crack, and wrote the short story e-book Ernie's Journey, which can be downloaded for free from the iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or smashwords.com.

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