Tuesday, June 6, 2006

The Devil's Rejects (2005)

I absolutely loathed House of 1000 Corpses. I thought it was a trite piece of trash, with a meandering story and no character development to speak of. The characters existed solely to suffer but weren't likable so I didn't care much if they lived or died. I hated it so much that when The Devil's Rejects came out, I vowed to avoid it and all future Rob Zombie films.

About six months ago, my roommate rented The Devil's Rejects and watched it in the living room. I groaned when I saw what he was watching, but was intrigued by the bits of scenes I saw. It looked completely different than House of a 1000 Corpses.

Well, I finally broke my vow and rented Devil's Rejects. Wham bam thank you ma'am! Wow, what a great movie! The subversive humor coupled with some disturbing scenes (how 'bout the one where a woman is allowed to survive, but is forced to wear her dead husband's face as a mask and is ultimately squelched under the wheels of a semi) make it quite the keeper.

There is also the moral dilemma that arises from watching the movie. Zombie gives the audience no one to readily identify with. The victims are unlikeable, the vigilante sheriff seems pretty crazed and the killers, well, they kill. Yet, I believe the audience identifies with the killers most because we spend the most amount of time with them. We are shown how close as a family they really are, and come to feel sorry for their plight, even if they do delight in torturing and eventually killing others. When they are captured and tortured by the sheriff, conflicting emotions arise as to who to root for. I admit that when Otis, Baby and Captain Spaulding escaped from the sheriff, I let out a quiet little "woot!" but I still felt at odds with this elation. I believe this confusion was purposefully created by Mr. Zombie to keep the audience uneasy (as if the gory visuals weren't enough!).

The camera work, cinematography and editing were all superb in this movie, much improved from House of 1000 Corpses. The overall look of the film had a washed out, gritty, 1970s feel to it, and was filmed for the most part in bright daylight. The lighting was a huge change from House, where most everything was filmed at night, or in the dark. I thought the music was also very good, with some clever choices especially appropriate for certain scenes.

I enjoyed this movie, soooo much more than House of a 1000 Corpses, but also standing on its own. It was well constructed, with a cohesive plot that actually went somewhere. If you didn't like House of a 1000 Corpses, don't fear The Devil's Rejects, but go ahead and give it a looksie.

Buy it on Amazon!

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