The Devil's Rejects
Oh dear, following on from the news that Rob Zombie was going to make the next in the Halloween series I had high hopes, and mainly based on hype I'd heard regarding his movies. Well I've just had the opportunity to see The Devils Rejects, and I wish I too had rejected it.
I don't know what to expect from the new Halloween movie, and can only hope that Zombie has learnt a lot since this film.
This isn't a great movie at all, although it succeeds in slightly unnerving you at the beginning of the movie all that is lost during a prolonged hostage and torture session. Well I say torture, there's not really much of that. For a group that is described as being rejected by even the devil, they don't seem to be too evil. They let women and kids go, they shoot you straight in the head, or knife you in the heart, with a few slaps beforehand. My, that's utterly depraved torture indeed. On that level it just doesn't work, you don't believe in these so called deranged killers.
There are quite a few moments where there are irrational and out of character decisions made by a few different people in the film, none of which are properly explained. There are a few "I'll go up to the attic alone" moments, but there are others that just give the impression that the story had to progress somewhere and the only way for it to happen was to have this character make this choice.
Then there were a few cuts that seemed to interrupt the natural flow of the story, particularly noticeable during a fight in the desert. One minute the two are fighting and the next the other is holding the gun, and this jerky story movement happens a number of times throughout the film.
This all makes it difficult to follow the story line and the character development, with characters making major changes and decisions without any understanding of why and almost instantly.
Rob Zombie does a good job during the filming and provides some very stylish moments on screen, with some strong effects. Some of the gun fighting scenes are surprisingly harsh and decisive for Hollywood, although the final one is drawn out and typically emotive. However it is quite reminiscent of some quite iconic moments in western gun fight movies.
Throughout the movie there is a slight feeling of dread, and although it's pretty easy to see where things are headed in the plot, that feeling remains with you. That's quite a strong effect to come out of a movie, making the audience feel something like that for an extended period, particularly when the script is quite easy to second guess.
There's also a problem of there being no characters to connect with or identify with. There is a slight connection with the idea of the group being a family, and that brings an interesting twist to the traditional good guys and bad guys idea. Your sympathies should be with the good guys, but it turns out there are none, although you find you connect ever so slightly with the bad guys, and that just doesn't feel right. That is something I did like about the movie.
There are some serious overacting issues particularly with the mother, Leslie Easterbrook, and daughter, Sheri Moon. For much of the first half of the film Moon blurts out her lines in staccato style, which had me concentrating more on her acting than the movie. William Forsythe has his moments too as the Sheriff, but that's eventually explained away by his character.
The picture is strong and well shot, there's nothing negative to be said about it. Of particular note were the fire effects which were handled well and looked extremely believable on screen. I wasn't sure which was CGI and which was real fire.
Presented: Dolby Digital 5.1
The audio is perhaps the strong part of this DVD offering. It has a Dolby Digital 5.1 track that fully kicked in during the gun fight scenes, with shots whistling around, bullet hits around you, during these scenes full use was made of the speakers.
With only a theatrical trailer it seems like a slap in the face to the consumer. I'd rather nothing at all than a trailer.
Not a great or enjoyable movie, I found myself distracted and wanting the film to hurry up and move on. The DVD offering is very poor, although the audio is good in key scenes. Quite frankly I'd give this one a miss and look to more effective horrors.