PLOT - A group of carnival workers on Halloween night get kidnapped and wake up in a giant warehouse where they are informed they will be playing a game. The task is simple. Stay alive for the next twelve hours.
LOWDOWN - Bear with me here, I'm running a fever and fighting a nasty case of walking pneumonia. (Awesome) Despite the fact I've been sick as a dog for several days I decided to jump at the chance of seeing Rob Zombie's newest film 31 for a special one night preview last night. Lucky for me, I called and ordered my ticket before my local theater sold out. Going in a haze of cough meds, and the fever I was running, I brought along my hoodie, and cough drops and snuggled down to see if Mr. Zombie could still impress me.
I wouldn't say I'm a huge Rob Zombie fan. Sure his music is pretty good, but I wouldn't say I'm over the moon over his stuff. Long ago, my mother bought me and my friend tickets to go see House of 1000 corpses since we were under 18. I still remember really digging the movie despite how strange and out there it was. Even back then being what 12? 13? I loved the cinematography, and colorful visuals. To this day I still believe Zombie should have remade movies like Tourist Trap or The Funhouse. A few years later I saw the sequel to House which was The Devil's Rejects, which at the time had a ton of built up hype. This was at a time when the splat pack were cracking out over violent movies. (High Tension, Saw, Hostel, Wolf Creek, ect.) I really have to give props to Zombie for what he did with this sequel. He went in the complete opposite direction. Here the film felt more like a gritty 1970's Western grind house film. He also was able to do something that can rarely happen. He made the villains likable. As horrible and blood thirty as they were, I'm sure I wasn't the only one who got total nerd chills at the end during the epic final scene.
Time past and news of Halloween being remade came, and groans from horror fans around the world could be heard. Now I'm not even about to open up that can of worms, but as much as I adore Carpenter's original classic, this remake holds a special place in my heart. It was released back in 2007 for my 19th birthday where my mother and sister joined me to see it opening night. My late mother was the main reason why I loved horror movies so much, and she was the person responsible for getting me into the Halloween series since she saw the first film when it originally came out in 1978. Sure the movie was no classic. I always like to say you can tell it's a Rob Zombie movie two seconds in when people start saying fuck, dick, and tits within the first thirty seconds. The movie in my eyes serves as another sequel, not a remake. Hell, anything is better than Resurrection. My mother and I enjoyed it so much we actually went and saw it again later that week. I feel there were some strong parts to this movie (mostly the ending) but the fact it's a remake to such an amazing film will always put it in bad light.
Zombie did his fake trailer to Werewolf Women of the SS and then two years later made H2 aka Halloween II. This is where I feel the downhill began. Again, loved the visuals. The man can make sets truly pop out for the audience. I loved the overall feel of the movie, but with horrible acting, and a plot that didn't seem to go anywhere I left the movies beyond disappointed. Still, after several re-watches I have to give the movie a little respect. The film was released in 2009, the same year I suddenly lost my mother. Watching Laurie self destruct in her grief was something that hit a little too close to home. I felt her pain, and could see how such a sweet likable character from the first movie became a total train wreck. Still...it's a terrible movie. ha, ha, ha.
I began to get pumped for Lords Of Salem since I live in Mass, and Salem is less than twenty minutes away. The trailer had me hooked, but when I finally saw it I left the theater scratching my head wondering what exactly did I just witness. The film again had some really strong points (I adore Meg Foster) and I really loved the whole record playing the song to summon the witches, but in the last thirty or so minutes I think Zombie took a giant bong rip and decided to make a very strange art film that made zero sense. I have re-watched it and have gained a little respect for the movie, but honestly I feel the script could have been stronger and they really could have played up the fact they filmed it on location in Salem.
So time passed and I waited for 31. I think Zombie and his wife are adorable. I've heard the man talk before and not only is he a Mass boy (his hometown is a stone throw away from me) he also seems like a true horror fan that has some great insight. Everyone busts his balls for casting his wife, but I truly don't mind. Is she a great actress? No way, still, she's likable and if I was a director and had a hot husband who acted you better believe I would throw his ass in every single thing I made.
I saw the trailer for 31 and was neither disappointed or excited. After Lords Of Salem I decided to wait and see what was going to happen. Last night, as sick as I was I knew I needed to continue to tradition of seeing his movies in theaters so I dragged my ass out of bed and saw it.
Well, the movie is a good idea. I like the overall story that people are kidnapped and have to play this game to survive until the time is up. Still, I felt the warehouse setting was a little wasted. I would have had the place maybe circus themed, or each area they unlock or wander into is almost like a different level. Sick head the midget was laughable. Really? Kick the fucking thing and get it over with. The villains were good, but I think could have been done a little differently to stand apart from each other. My biggest complaint was Zombie's action scenes. The camera work was so crazy 99% of the time I couldn't tell what was happening. The strobe light scene turned my stomach. I don't know if this was a fever talking but I legit almost blew chunks.
The beginning was annoying, that dialog tho...
Still, felt the mood would have been set better. Gore was great, but a ton of it you can't see due to the camera work.
I think had the action scenes been clearer I would have enjoyed the movie a little bit better. I loved the characters of Sex-Head and Doom-Head, but with all the hype I was a little let down. The scene of doom-head and Charley in the house with the puppets in day-light was great, mostly when the time ran out. Still, that epic scene of them staring at each other in the road later on should of ended with them attacking each other and cutting to black. Still, I rooted for the cast. I love Jeff Daniel Phillips, and Meg Foster. They kicked ass and I was bummed when they bit the dust. Still, loved the footage of them before the credits rolled.
So overall thoughts? I really enjoyed the music videos that played before the film started hahahaha. I would give this 2 1/2 stars. Much better than Lords Of Salem, but not much of an improvement. Still, I'll go and see his next movie, so I guess we'll just see.
2 1/2 stars!!!