No one can rescind the fact that rockabilly musician Rob Zombie achieved cult status with the indelibly grungy midnight movie The Devil’s Rejects. In lieu of praising his peak moment in 42nd street infamy, Zombie is a one-trick pony and his excruciatingly pseudo-intellectual, crowdfunded pet project ‘31’ is undeniable proof of that. He is a devotee to disreputable 70’s movies in which the gore was plentiful and the style was docurealistic.
Unfortunately, he is remiss on what was beloved about those movies. Firstly, he trots out a cadre of insufferably misogynistic characters as both the heroes and the villains. When a victim is alluding to his “king dong” and his female cohorts are basically glorifying the fact that their main source of income is their vagina, the sympathy meter is already asymmetrical. Next, Zombie introduces the film with a self-indulgent, moronically overwritten speech from Doom-Head (Richard Brake) to a minister victim about decapitating cockroaches. He must delude himself to be a splendid wordsmith like Quentin Tarantino who can extemporize arresting anecdotes at will. A line like “In Hell, everybody loves popcorn” is more counterfeit than legitimately quotable.
The most egregious sin of all is that the slice-and-dice scenes of survival are epileptic in their camerawork and it would require someone on Adderall to recount what transpires during a chainsaw duel and the initial abduction in which two female passengers are killed but the audience isn’t quite certain how they were dispatched or when. Normally nitpicks about how the Victorian secret society can monitor the homicidal activities without surveillance, would be inconsequential but when the final product is this numbingly execrable, all of the shortcomings are too mammoth to ignore.
This is a plea to Zombie. Retire your poison pen and hire a new cinematographer. You hit pay dirt with the aforementioned quasi-sequel to House of 1,000 Corpses. Now, you’ve become a woeful self-parody. Maybe more slithery animation is in your future. Less wanton idiocy would do you wonders.
Rating: 0.5 out of 5