The Devil’s Rejects

A Film Review By The Mike

Rating:R for Graphic Violence and More Tits and Ass than you can Shake a Stick at.
Starring: Sid Haig, Sheri Moon Zombie, William Forsythe
Directed By: Rob Zombie

Final Grade:

I really hope this isn’t the future of horror.

I mean, I’m all for a bit of violence. I’m all for gratuitous nudity, and I’m all for psychopathic murderers. But when those things are all a movie’s basing itself on, I get a little put off. Is our society that desensitized? Is there nothing that can scare us but a lot of random and senseless acts that are strung together as entertainment? This movie’s absolutely gruesome, shocking, and aggressive…but is that a good thing?

These are the kind of questions that came to my mind while viewing Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects, a horror film in the true sense of the word. It’s a film in which three people with some marbles loose get attacked by a vengeful cop, hide out in a motel, where they’re free to torture people for fun, and then meet up with that cop again. It’s simple in its attack, and it never lets up. In fact, I think I’m safe in saying that this movie exists only as an exercise in pushing the envelope.

Now, I will agree that the movie pushes that envelope well. You’ve probably noticed the string of adjectives in my previous paragraphs, and there aren’t many descriptors of pain and suffering that don’t apply. If you go in looking for a film in which a killer is sadistic enough to leave a survivor bound and wearing her dead husband’s peeled face as a mask, it’ll definitely be a hoot.

There’s a lot to like, and even love if you’re a genre fan, in The Devil’s Rejects. The Rejects are colorful and lively psychopaths, and their pursuer (played by William Forsythe with an astounding scowl and a vile temper) is one of the more memorable characters in horror in some time. Plus, Zombie’s direction is pretty impressive, capturing the 70’s horror feel he wanted to replicate with ease.

Despite all of this, Devil’s Rejects is nothing more than what it appears to be. It’ll make the viewer squirm and squeal, and tint the screen red with blood while showing off how brutal it can be. But it’s all so simple and unambitious in plot, even ending with a final act that dumbs all the characters down to a point of idiocy that makes the thinking viewer become quite edgy.

A quick commentary on that final act – I don’t know if Mr. Zombie reads the news, but there are these great new inventions called guns and bullets. Now, I know he knew what they were when he made the film, but I don’t think he knew one thing. You see, if you want someone dead really badly, you put the gun to his or her head and pull the trigger. It’s that simple. You don’t however, keep them alive and taunt them, especially when they are homicidal maniacs, and they out number you, and they are in their own dungeon (which you just happened to think was a good place to take them).

This is a main example of how Zombie’s film, in pushing the envelope at all times, fails to provide the essentials of a smart film that’s more than a showcase for lunacy. And I surely hope that filmmakers out there don’t take Zombie’s lead and decide to make all their horror movies so focused on carnage that they ignore the use of logic and elementary thought. I will commend Zombie for doing what he wanted to do, and doing it well. But I cannot give his film a full recommendation, because I do not agree with his disregard for these things.

That said, The Devil’s Rejects is an enjoyable piece of horror fluff, despite its flaws. But I assure you one thing. If you have any scruples with violence on-screen, an extremely strong regard for the construction of an intelligent plot, or some sort of aversion to an utter disdain for the sanctity of human life – You should not see this movie.

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