Rated: R (for strong bloody horror violence, pervasive language, sexual content and drug use)
Directed by: Rob Zombie
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Sheri Moon Zombie & Richard Brake
“You know what they say, kemosabe….in Hell, everybody loves Popcorn.”
Rob Zombie tends to please his movie-going audience with films of carnage, perversion and insanity that some R rated cinema seem to lack theses days. The by-gone Grindhouse plots seems to flow through his veins, helping him pump out theses films every couple of years. From the sadistic “House of 1000 Corpses” to the follow up “The Devil’s Rejects” to his most recent film “The Lords of Salem”, Zombie’s cornerstone of blood seems to be dwindling, as the more films he makes, the lesser the story becomes. In “The Lords of Salem”, Zombie begins to show imagery reflective of religeon and perversion that seen to make to sense…it’s like he said to his cinematographer: “This needs to happen because it’ll be weird and messed up!” Is “31” a jumbled mess of body parts or is it a cohesive story that can walk on it’s two legs?
It’s Halloween. The elite go home to their mansions and get dressed up for the festivities…except tonight isn’the an ordinary night for them. Tonight, they play a game. Every Halloween, they hire Assassins and murderers to play a game of cat-and-mouse with the newly captured “guests” to their Manor. For thoses 5 “Guests”, they must survive 12 hours. Will they make it to dawn or will this be their last Halloween? Zombie knows how to deliver a good interesting story. In this film, he creates a world that is inviting to watch. The villains are the main reason to watch the film: From Sick Head (the dwarf Nazi) to Death Head (the giant German) to Doom Head (basically the Grim Reaper), theses characters bring fun and intensity to the scenes. One of the biggest issues I found from the film is the main characters. I couldn’t have cared less if theses people got killed off: none of theses characters were memorable, endearing or even HAD character. They did drugs and liked to have sex…that was their main characteristics. What was even odder, was that during the film, the elite characters were giving odds to the “guests” on the probabilities on survival….Sheri Moon Zombie kept killing half the villains and her numbers of survival were moving from 500/1 odds to 400/1 odds….WHAT? Sometimes the choices in the film doesn’t make sense either time wise or plot wise…I’m sure with a little tweaking, the film could of been a bloody pleasure but it does have some flaws.
This is the only time I’m saying this…As attractive as Sheri Moon Zombie is…she can’take act out of a paper bag. She was good in Devil’s Rejects and even in the Halloween movies…but since Lords of Salem…I just can’t stand her acting. On the flip side of the coin is Richard Brake as Doom Head. Make a series of out this character and he could be in the same league as Jason or Freddy. He is sadistic, unsympathetic and steals every scene he is in. The dialogue written for him and the way Brake portrays this character is just mesmerizing to watch. If 31 could get a Doom Head standalone spinoff…I’d be excited to watch it. Malcolm McDowell plays the same cruel character he’s perfected since the 1970’s, so you know it’s good. The other villains are great as well: demented, sick and twisted as they should be. After that, the cast is meh at best. Like I said in story, the main characters aren’t that great: they are boring and just plain unlikeable. Its unlike the heroes of the 80’s slasher movies. In the 80’s, you had your stereotypes who were the heroes: they were likeable, unlikeable, etc. Theses characters from “31” have no shred of character to them at all. You could write a synopsis of each character and they would look the same.
The Visuals & Editing:
The film is grimy and gross looking…and that’s a positive. This film shouldn’t look neat and clean, it should seem unpolished. It’s the worst of the worst and that’s good. On the editing side thought….this film is oddly paced. There are moments in the movie that they cut from one form of action to another….and it’s the exact same thing that’s happening…and it lasts for 3 minutes (or at least it felt like it did). There are slow mo shots that happen out of nowhere and random transitions from film stock to a freeze frame image….if this is supposed to be scary than I’m a brave warrior…I think the editing scares me more than the movie.
Honestly…I can’t even remember the music for the movie. I remember some cues from certain hit songs, but nothing screams out and says: “I’m memorable! Remember me!!!”.
“31” has some messy moments but it’s somewhat decent. Zombie disregards the “subtle” imagery and does a paint by numbers horror movie. With torturous editing, some great acting and a decent plot, there could be worst things than this movie.
31 is currently available on VOD platforms and will be available on Blu-Ray and DVD on Oct. 21st, 2016
*WARNING: The Following Trailer shows Explicit Material and Disturbing Imagery. You have been warned.