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The Devil's Rejects

A movie directed by Rob Zombie

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Zombie's "Rejects" is violent and sadistic; but also smart, taut, and even a little funny.

  • Feb 1, 2011
Rating:
+3
*** out of ****

Ah, violence. Don't we all just love it? Well, we must considering how many violent films come out each year. After all; if we don't love violence, then nobody loves getting a big fat paycheck for making a film featuring any. It's hard to come across a filmmaker who uses violence in a particularly good way, since honestly, how good can violence get? Violence, in reality, is a terrible thing. In film, however, it can be put to good use. I find it quite shocking that the latest director to treat the depiction of violence with care happens to be Rob Zombie; the same man who made the incredibly indecent exploitation flick "House of 1,000 Corpses". When I heard he made a sequel, I wasn't thrilled. But when I heard it was actually quite good, THEN I was interested. You know how I said in my review for Zombie's first feature that the man has talent? Well, here's a film where he actually uses it. Zombie has improved as a filmmaker with "The Devil's Rejects", which is indeed a sequel to "House of 1,000 Corpses". What kind of surprises me about this sequel is how it doesn't even go for the same Grindhouse horror-feel that "House of 1,000 Corpses" seemed to be aiming for; it's less stylized and more focused on realism. And when violence is your subject, realism is going to come in and it's going to hit the audience so hard to the point where they may question their own mentality. If you think for one second that you're actually enjoying "The Devil's Rejects", then let me be the first to tell you that you are not crazy. I myself quite enjoyed Rob Zombie's second film, since this time he actually gets his technique right. I will not lie; "Rejects" is a brutal film which I found fairly disturbing. But with that being said, I still do believe it to be good cinema. I can understand such a film dividing audiences, but with people saying stuff like "this is one of the sickest, brutal, most depraved films I have ever seen", I kind of have to question just how many true film buffs are still living, since I know as much as we all know that Zombie's "Rejects" is not a sick, nasty film. Yes, it's violent. But not without a cause. I think that Zombie wanted to show how horrible violence truly is; thus he is by no means promoting it. Why would he? Why would I even like the film if I thought he was doing this? That's the point; I wouldn't. I think that it's very hard to look past the violent content of this film, but for those who can, it's a hell of a ride. "The Devil's Rejects" is actually pretty well-made; and it's as realistic as realistic gets. This is not a great film, although someday I think a lot of people will appreciate it for what it is. I will not tell you that you should see it; but if you can stomach the ride, then I say go for it. It's worth the time it requires.

Leaving off from "House of 1,000 Corpses", the family of serial killers have finally been tracked and trapped. Mother Firefly has been taken into custody by the police, which leaves Baby, Otis, and Captain Spalding to run from the authorities for as long as they can. Making pit-stops to torture people to keep them satisfied, the terrible threesome decide that if they're going to go out, then they're going to go out with style. The film is all about the chase leading up to the possible deaths of each killer, and this time Rob Zombie actually gets a story going. While "Rejects" does indeed spend quite a bit of time depicting violence, this is a different film than "House of 1,000 Corpses", which was nearly devoid of characters, plot, and reason. I won't say that the characters in "Rejects" have reason to commit such brutal acts of violence other than the fact that it gives them pleasure, but I will not say that such acts make "The Devil's Rejects" unwatchable. In fact, this film is very much watchable. So watchable, in fact, that it's like "Citizen Kane" compared to Zombie's first stab at horror. This time, however, he has not made a horror film. Nor has he made a thriller. Nor has he even made a drama. "The Devil's Rejects" blends each of these genres together to the point where I just can't classify it into one. The film could be considered scary, and it could also be considered thrilling. And lastly, it also has little dramatic moments scattered throughout in which we learn that these characters, who we all know and probably hate from "House of 1,000 Corpses", have become more complex beings. Zombie nearly makes a great film with "Rejects", which I kind of have to admire for its craft. Is it violent? You bet it is. But did I like it? Oh yes, I did indeed. "The Devil's Rejects" will be attacked by those who hate violence. Such people will call the content shown "meaningless". I call it content with a purpose, and "Rejects" is no exploitation flick like it predecessor. If you find the violence in this film to be horrible, then know that the film is merely doing its job. Seldom can violence in a film be disturbing yet entertaining; but this is one such case. I'm fine with the fact that most will be tough critics when it comes to the film, but if you can look past the brutality and see the skill involved in this here film then I will officially respect you for some time. If only Zombie could do something like this more often, then I would really love him. As it is, "The Devil's Rejects" is his best film. It's the best he's done when it comes to original characters, story-telling, and style. I liked what he did here, in spite of all the brutal violence and such. There's fun to be had; as long as your idea of fun can indeed include some bloodshed.

Most of the actors abandon their over-the-top performances from "House of 1,000 Corpses" and take on more serious personas for their characters. Every character feels a bit more complex, and Zombie has actually given them personalities. For starters, Sig Haig is in this sequel more than he was in the first film, which is good. He doesn't sport the clown make-up throughout as his Captain Spalding character, although perhaps that's a good thing since he's still fun to watch yet his character is more interesting this time around. Sheri Moon Zombie and Bill Moseley significantly improve in their roles over their performances in Zombie's first flick; each inhabiting characters rather than just...people. Yes, each major character is a killer of some sort; even the police men. But that does not mean that all endearing qualities are taken away. In fact, I was almost rooting for the bad-guys, and for some reason I think that Rob Zombie wanted it to work out that way. He does not by any means want to promote violence through such characters, but he wants us to WANT to watch them, and in doing so he is a rather surprising success. There's some good acting to be found here, as well as some good cameos from Danny Trejo and Michael Berryman. If you know any of those two men then this film will seem all the more fun on a personal level. I sure enjoyed it.

Oh, how I would love to say that "The Devil's Rejects" is too sadistic and violent for my taste. Oh, how I would love to refer to it as a torture porn flick. The reason why I can't refer to it as either is because it's actually a pretty damn good film. In spite of its content, this is well-made. Rob Zombie gets his act together for his sequel to "House of 1,000 Corpses", and ever since, this is the finest film he has made. I think that Zombie needs to work on original material more often, and perhaps the problem with "Corpses" was that it was his first flick and thus he was not experienced. He has none the less impressed me with "The Devil's Rejects", which is by all means far from perfect, but none the less very entertaining. Zombie embeds cleverly written dark humor and ghastly charm into this film, which is nice since he kind of TRIED to do that with "House of 1,000 Corpses", but I thought that he failed on one too many levels. He gets most of his intended style right with "The Devil's Rejects", which is more realistic than "Corpses" and therefore more disturbing. This also makes it much better. "House of 1,000 Corpses" sucked because it was exploitation without joy. "The Devil's Rejects" is violence (with a meaning), and it sure as hell was accompanied with the kind of fun that "Corpses" aimed to deliver. I could enjoy this film because there were some good story elements to be found. I don't know if I want to call it art, but there is skill that was put into it for sure. The film could have easily been a generic gore-fest for gore-hogs only; but instead it's a little more appealing. It may upset your stomach and you may hate it, but I kind of like it anyways. It's the kind of film that I can only recommend if you feel you can stomach such a thing. If you can, then by all means watch the darned thing. I feel it is definitely worth the viewing, and while Zombie doesn't throw in true meaning with the blood and guts, he does give the violence a purpose (and please don't ask me what that purpose was, because I told you earlier). Go ahead; attack me for liking "The Devil's Rejects". Hate me because I liked this film and you followed a certain recommendation which I never really gave. If you're a smart person then you will know that neither I nor Rob Zombie are responsible for your rage; it's your fault that you watched it in the first place. The film will not appeal to all; but it's gutsy, funny, and has a pretty cool soundtrack. I can dig that.

I think that Rob Zombie is skillful in his craft, and perhaps this is the best he can do. Strangely enough, if this is as much as he can muster up, then I'm OK with that. This is a good film as it is; and as an original Zombie film (that's right, NOT one of those "Halloween" remakes), I recognize it for being well-made. The film is genuinely well shot and features some mighty fine tunes; thus the style agreed with me. It's just as people have said; violent and not for those with weak stomachs. However, those who call it depraved are simply wrong. There is no moral reason for the violence, but if Zombie is a man depraved of morality for making such a film, then I'll be damned. I know why he wanted to make this film; so he could prove that he could make a film and make it right. He didn't exercise his craft correctly with "House of 1,000 Corpses", but this time I like the choices he made. "Corpses" aimed to be Grindhouse horror. "Rejects" simply wants to be the kind of realistic horror that you never jump at; the kind that merely makes you cringe at the thought of it. And you know what; this film is scary. This film IS effective. Stuff like this can happen; and perhaps that is the scary part. It comes to show that perhaps all men are monsters waiting to unleash mayhem into the world; some just decide to show it in more...flamboyant ways. This is not a film for everyone, as I have said. But you know what; I enjoyed it. So shoot me. Art is in the eye of the beholder, and to some "Rejects" will be artistic. I don't think it is art in its own, but there's definitely some artistic craft behind it. Here, I think Zombie knows his stuff. I think he should use such knowledge more often, since as I've heard, his career went right back down again after this. But at least he had a good time making this film; and at least he made a good film for once. "The Devil's Rejects" isn't the most memorable film out there, nor is it powerful in its depiction of violence, but there was enough "good" in it for me to actually like it. It's a competent film with competent actors, helmed by a competent man. And that's good enough for me.

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More The Devil's Rejects reviews
review by . May 16, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
The Devil's Work
Cast all your impure thoughts aside & go pick up a copy of Disney's Bambi if this isn't your cup of blood. Rob Zombie had unleashed his greatest endeavor upon us back in the summer of 2005. Those who chose to just sit this one out had no idea what they were missing. Zombie showed us that he could hang with the big dogs such as Tarantino or Rodriguez with the witty one-liners, cuckoo characters, & over the top violence.      For fans of harcore action or true …
review by . May 08, 2009
The Devil's Rejects is the sequel to Rob Zombie's feature length debut House of 1,000 Corpses. The local law enforcement officers have surrounded the family compound. They have followed all of the clues and it points to them. Mother Firefly, Baby, Otis, Tiny and Rufus shoot it out with the police. In the ensuing fire fight, Otis and Baby flee the scene. Baby contacts Captain Spaulding and tells them that they need to hide from the police. Can the Fireflys and Captain Spaulding evade the authorities? …
review by . December 08, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Once again, this, probably one of the sickest, most twisted and unpleasant films I've ever seen. From both a graphic and subliminal point of view it's a bit of a wonder how it got a rating actually. From the off-set the title lets you know what kind of film it's going to be (Rob Zombie probably thought it sounded cool). I thought that this movie had some good cinematography and a dusty washed out feel that has been done before but still lends the right atmosphere for this kind of violent horror.  I …
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Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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