Thursday, December 8, 2016


Director - Rob Zombie (House of 1000 Corpses, Halloween)
Starring - Sheri Moon Zombie (The Devil's Rejects, Lords of Salem), Jeff Daniel Phillips (Freaks of Nature, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs (Killer Drag Queens on Dope, Weird Science)
Release Date - 2016
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Death is the only escape"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     Rob Zombie was a huge part of my life when I was in high school.  I was a fan of his music way before he started making movies.  I think I heard his music for time when I started collecting the Twisted Metal video game series.  This series opened my eyes to a lot of good music and Rob/White Zombie was one of the many bands.  When I was in high school, back in 2003, Zombie released his first film House of 1000 Corpses.  I fucking wet myself.  I loved it.  Some of my friends hated it but I fucking loved it.  It was a love letter to Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  Two years later, when I graduated, he released The Devil's Rejects.  To this day that film is one of my favorite horror films to ever be released.  Once again, some of my friends hated it but I loved it.  In 2007 I was in college and Zombie would remake the classic slasher Halloween.  A majority of my friends and horror acquaintances hated it but I loved the character development and story.  Sure, Carpenter's take was better but this one was not a bad movie by any means.  Then Zombie went and let the horror community down with Halloween II.  It was utter shit.  No matter how you slice it you are still cutting a turd.   He followed that up with Lords of Salem which caught people on the fence.  Some like it, some hate it, but no one comes out to say they love it.  I'm one of those that enjoyed it but I quickly forget about it.  When Zombie announced 31 I was indifferent.  His first three films were phenomenal but his recent films did not meet my expectations.  How would 31 fair?
     The film follows a group of carnival workers and performers who are traveling in an RV when they are forced to stop when their road is blocked.  They get out of the RV to assess the road block when they are attacked and abducted.  Some of them awaken where they are told they are being forced to compete in a game called "31" where they will be hunted by various clowns for 12 hours.  All they have to do is survive.  The game is hosted by three wealthy aristocrats who observe the murder takes place.  They bring in different clowns to kill the captives and if they fail they call in more clowns until the 12 hours are up.  If they survive when the 12 hours expire then they can walk free.
     Rob Zombie will always catch hell over his movies.  People hate to see others succeed and they hate to see them succeed at something they are good at.  He is known the world over for his music so some people hate him over his music career.  His movies, sadly, have the same fate.  People instantly bash them before seeing them.  Sure, Halloween II was shit and the Halloween remake removes everything that made the original so memorable but it was still entertaining.  People love to hate for no reason.  The funny thing is, these people who instantly bash Zombie and his films before seeing them are the same ones that go on social media and preach love and acceptance.  31 was a solid entry in the career of Rob Zombie but it was nowhere near the quality of film we got from him in the past.  The acting in this one is solid.  All of Zombie's films have a decent cast but sometimes fan's want to see different faces.  Sheri Moon Zombie is a decent actress but she should never carry a film.  At this point it is expected to see her center stage but I just don't feel like she is the right actress to take control of a film.  I am not shit talking her.  She has talent and has cemented herself in history for her role as Baby in House of 1000 Corpses but she is missing something that makes her lead worthy.  With that aside, Jeff Daniel Phillips killed it.  The film should have centered around him more than anyone else.  He was more down to Earth once the killing started and more vulgar and comedy oriented before the carnage starts.  The real star of the show is Richard Brake.  Brake is fucking insane in this film.  He goes to a very dark place for his character which steals every scene he is in.  It is hard to focus on anyone else when he walks onto screen.  Also, it is cool to see Elizabeth Daily step out of her element and into horror.  Daily is a name I was very familiar with growing up.  She was Dottie in Pee Wee's Big Adventure and the voice of Tommy Pickle in Rugrats.  The story for this one is a big mix of House of 1000 Corpses and The Running Man.  The film follows a group who are held at will while another group celebrate Halloween in a very deranged way just like House of 1000 Corpses.  We then follow them as they are forced to play a game to survive where they have to kill their attackers while the people over the game send in other killers on their behalf similar to The Running Man.  This is a fun mash up but it does a very poor job at character development and delivering back story.  I want to know more about all the characters.  Also, the film does a piss poor job at creating atmosphere and tension.  House of 1000 Corpses and Halloween both perfectly create tension and suspense.  The viewer can choke on the atmosphere.  This film lacks that.  We get poorly written characters amidst characters that clearly had more time placed on their development who tackle a story with no sense of dread.  Finally, the film has several kills that are fun and wonderfully gory but I feel there is an uncut version out their somewhere. The kills we get are great but they do cut away prematurely.  The effects we get are great as well which is expected considering Wayne Toth is the man behind the gore.  Toth does an outstanding job and bringing the gore and making the kills work on screen.  Overall, 31 is a solid film from Rob Zombie but he did not reach his full potential with it.  Zombie is one hell of a director when he applies himself to a project and this just doesn't feel like he gave it everything he's got.  We need more development and backstory.  Why is Death-Head with Sex-Head, why do the wealthy do this, and why did the chainsaw brothers have to die?  This is a decent film but could have been so much more.  Check it out.

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