Monday, August 01, 2005

I had avoided reading the reviews. and I didn't read very much online about the movie too. I wanted to come to the theater without any preconceptions about the film, but to sit among others in the dark. I had no inkling of what the critics were saying, until Anna told me Ebert gave it 3 stars, a good movie once you get past the gore. and there was an article in the paper about horror movies not doing well at the box office.

pity! cuz Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects is a slap-upside-the-head fucking great movie. it recalls all those gritty 70s exploitation films, such as Wes Craven's The Last House on the Left, shown across the u.s. at drive-ins and grindhouses, without any trace of goopy nostalgia. Zombie knows his horror/exploitation flicks. and for this go-around he learned to train the kinetic editing, lighting, camera angles, film stock and soundtrack to knuckle-curling levels. it is breathtaking to behold.

not really a sequel to Zombie's debut House of a 1000 Corpses but rather a continuation of the tale. at the beginning the Firefly family are rousted from their sleep by Sheriff Wydell who is bent on seeking bloody revenge for the murder of his brother. there in lies the stock to this soup. I admit to admiring 1000 Corpses but only because Zombie saturates that film with 70s Halloween kitsch and the opening with Sid Haig as demented sideshow impresario Capt. Spaulding is an adrenaline rush. Haig, a veteran B-movie actor, reprises his Spaulding character and his relationship with the Firefly clan is fleshed out to a satisfying end.

and that is the matter here, for the film opens with images of decay and madness, and it ends in full-blown psychosis. the period in the film is 1978, and the soundtrack is pitch-perfect for the era and the action of the principles onscreen. the movie is blood-drenched, manic and dusty. most of the action occurs in daylight, making the film perfect for the drive-in. everyone is ugly, worn in and out, and filthy in action and attire. this is a universe of moral relativism, no good guys or bad guys. we glimpse a vision of hell with Sheriff Wydell, Spaulding and the Fireflys. we are given no explanations why these people commit evil, what motivates them, how they got to be the way they are. and because of this lack of reason we see almost absolute evil.

I say this is a great movie, but it is no masterpiece. Rob Zombie knows his shit and he is getting better at the craft and art of filmmaking. there were moments in this film that were nauseating, that for this hardcore exploitation fan I squirmed in my seat. the film goddamned scared the shit out of me. it has been a long time since a movie scared me shitless. so much so that I was thrilled and tapping my feet along to "Freebird" by Lynard Skynard during the operatic conclusion. the flick is disgusting, reprehensible and extreme at the hardest R rating I have witnessed since perhaps another Wes Craven film The Hills Have Eyes. Zombie had the pleasure to cast old exploitation actors so that I had to stay to watch the end credits to put names to the faces.

I can't recommend this movie enough. flat-out it is the best movie I've seen all year. it ain't for everyone. a friend wondered aloud today how I can love a film like that. well, I guess we'll all probably be smoking turds in hell for something.


At 3:48 PM, Blogger Okir said...

Haven't seen it myself as I prefer the atmospherics of spooky gothic haunted dead people flicks, but there's an opinion to the contrary about the Rob Zombie film here.


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