Devil's Rejects review by Geoff RobertsGeoff Roberts
It is important to note a few things before heading off to see Devils Rejects. The movie that spawned this dreadful mess House of 1000 Corpses spent three years on the shelf at MGM and Universal Pictures before being picked up by Lions Gate Pictures. The reason cited back then was that the original was so gory it might have deserved the dreaded NC-17 rating but instead earned an R on release. Secondly, if you are expecting this movie to be another horror flick like its predecessor you are out of luck. Director Rob Zombie went for realism this time planting his characters in a real-life killing spree.
This film is a stand alone piece and not a sequel. After all Zombie hates sequels and the fact the number two aptly denotes a lame sequel that is half baked. Fans of the first film will be sad to learn this film is a convoluted mess that borrows from every 1970s B movie that flopped in theaters, slasher films, the Charles Manson case, and heavily from the more talented Quintin Tarantinos body of work. Most heavily used are plot devices from Pulp Fiction, the screenplay of From Dusk Till Dawn and the torture sequences described as the worst seen in 1992 from Reservoir Dogs. Those films often had hard to follow scripts but in the end it all made sense and was dark and often wickedly funny in spite of themselves.
Zombie has the darkness down, but neither the script nor the acting and direction helps audiences digest what they just saw. The film is haphazardly put together and that becomes evident. Zombie saw the first week totals for House of 1000 Corpses and he hurried to put together a script for another movie. The only problem was he did not know what it should be and one can argue he still does not know what this film should be.
The film opens and we see a ranch. It is a modest run down property owned by the Firefly family introduced to us in House of 1000 Corpses. All is not quiet on the western front with an ambush about to take place within seconds. It seems outlaw Sherif Wydell (William Forsythe) has a bit of house cleaning to do to avenge the murder of his brother.
With their house under siege only Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie) and brother Otis (Bill Mosely) manage to escape the bullets to hit the road and hideout in a sleazy motel while waiting for their father Captain Spalding (Sid Haig) to show up. Unfortunately, the pair only give Wydell further reason to exact revenge when they begin killing everything and anybody in their path on the way to the hideout. Body after body piles up with an ultimate showdown looming. The movie is meant to be a bloody Western with horrific torture thrown into the mix. The Firefly family, even though they horrifically and brutally slaughter their victims, are meant to earn your sympathy. The jury should be out for a long time on that one.
Ironically this cult called the Devils Rejects have a sense of family about them. Loyal to nobody but themselves the band of outcasts almost appear as they were normal people unto themselves and occasionally succeed.
The only character that is developed is Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie). This character is wavering between good and evil and really does not feel good at all about the killing spree and the beliefs of her family and the Devils Rejects cult she belongs to. Baby really does not see herself as a ruthless killer and deep down feels like a victim of torture herself; But of the emotional and most likely sexual kind. We have no idea the abuse she has suffered and how this naive individual got roped into believing all the wrong things. She is a character who is perturbed sexually and rather that kill and torture her victims physically she keeps them around until her father shows up getting them to act out certain sexual scenarios she has a bizarre interest in. We care about her for awhile until guns start blazing again.
The most disturbing thing about this movie is that the characters keep a book and log in every detail about whom they have tortured and killed along with gruesome photos of the crime scene and personal mementos. These characters kill for sport and have no rhyme or reason behind anything. A good movie will explore the reasons a cult exists, how people were brainwashed, the primary belief they all share and give some reason why seemingly random acts happen. When it comes to Devils Rejects audiences should be able to see it is brutally violent without any real reason. Brutal violence, torture and killing people on screen for the shock value is neither warranted, entertaining or artistic. It is downright appalling and not good for anyone to be exposed to let alone young people who will be sneaking into movie theaters to see it. Even if young people get carded at the door they are not missing anything worthwhile viewing.
Most people can distinguish between reality and fiction. There are however warped and sick minds among society. As we all know movies of this type of film and song lyrics have indeed spawned real serial killings inspiring the sick, demented, and twisted minds of serial killers who use these images and misinterpret everything seen and or heard as their motivation or excuse for brutal torture, rape and murder. It has long been held as belief within society that films like this are not helping a generation but rather harming it. Nobody needs to see this kind of brutality and torture as entertainment. Is this kind of violence for the sake of entertainment or an attempt to make art or a social statement that many people will not understand. Is it worth unhealthy end results or polluting and assaulting ones own senses? Devils Rejects certainly is not worthy of the publics attention or corrupting minds and imaginations.
1 out of 10 Jackasses