Film reviews

The Devil’s Rejects, Dir; Rob Zombie, Cert; 18

I’m not entirely sure what Rob Zombie is trying to say with this picture, or quite what he was trying to achieve. Perhaps this is even to the director’s credit, as I have a sneaking suspicion that he intended it to be this way.

Lying somewhere between Wes Craven’s seminal horror classic “The Hills Have Eyes” and the recent TV satire of “Trailer Park Boys”, the ex-White Zombie man’s latest release follows the sick, stomach churning exploits of a bunch of homicidal outcasts who call themselves the Devil’s Rejects as they run riot through remote parts of rural America.

I get the impression that Zombie was trying to make the “good guys” as despicable as the anti-heroes themselves in order that we felt some kind of sympathy towards our bloodthirsty protagonists towards the end of the film. If that WAS the case, then I’m afraid the erstwhile metal man has failed. It’s just that it never becomes crystal clear that this was the intention – a rather ambiguous morality tale then! There was no way I could possibly muster up any kind of attachment with such a moronic bunch of murderers at any stage of the film. I even felt sorry for the vile cop (played beautifully by William Forsythe) *SPOILER ALERT* as he was brutally sacrificed in an act of vengeance group toward the end. *SPOILER OVER*

My problem lied with the fact that the “family” – who, presumably, must have been based at least loosely on the Manson clan – were not even vaguely amusing with the little quips they made towards their victims, but again, this may well have been a masterstroke by the director. After all, how many evil, inbred lunatics would be capable of indulging in intelligent witty banter?

The atmosphere is not too far removed from that of the 1974 classic “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and the staple of gratuitous female nudity we came to accept as part and parcel of films from the early seventies of this genre is lovingly included. Then again, the full frontal nakedness is provided here by the gorgeous Kate Norby, so I doubt many of the MALE viewers will be complaining!

All in all, this is a quite enigmatic film, with a seemingly underlying theme of God vs Satan, with the former eventually prevailing. It’s just that Zombie seems to want us to go home feeling it was a “moral victory” for the Devil’s Rejects, and that was something I found difficult to palate.

Having said all that, it’s definitely an enjoyable movie.


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