Written by / 6/26/2017 / No comments / , , , , ,

ROB ZOMBIE WRITES & DIRECTS THE BLOODFEST OF 31

1970's Homage Style Poster Art for 31 Year: 2016
Rob Zombie's "31" is one of those horror movies that's terrifying for the fictional characters but not one bit scary to the audience... 

Seeming like a twisted version of THE RUNNING MAN (originally derived from THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME), five people have to survive a tortuous hunting underground hosted by Malcolm McDowell and two old ladies, dressed in wigged European aristocrat costumes, letting the would-be victims know how much time is left, and which antagonist is next up to bat: All bearing names with Head at the end, such as Sick-Head and Doom-Head, they resemble Heath Ledger's Joker combined with Rob's usual Killer Clown motif with a dash of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE demented redneck.

Score: **
It isn't the first time the ultra-violent director has served up a plate of innocent hippie partiers into a realm of body-count darkness and death, but this is his all-out KILL BILL style homage-driven stew, wielding everything in the gory-exploitation playbook, and beyond... 

The problem, though, with any kind of overly violent experience, be it gratuitous or otherwise, is the question of: How much dead can you get? After an hour the film seems tortuously endless, and unlike the b-horrors Rob grew up on, it's not because a lot of different things happen... 

The movie has one-dimension and basically, one location (albeit multi-leveled) so there's no sense of adventure, or, worse yet for this genre, suspense. But what stunts the film's growth isn't the hunters but the hunted. During the initial fifteen minutes, on the road inside a van blasting Classic Rock tunes, the seven (soon to be five) passengers fit together like those action flicks with politically correct multiracial gangs consisting of oddball members i.e. people who look as if they'd never band together in the first place... and it's never quite clear where they're headed.

Welcome Back
Like Quentin Tarantino gave John Travolta his comeback, Freddie 'Boom Boom Washington' gets the Vinnie Barbarino treatment. In that, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, as the muscular Yaphet Kotto from ALIEN role, is handicapped by a Jamaican accent: anyone mustering up cliché Rasta-speak could have played the part. Meanwhile, former blue-eyed beauty from the 70's and 80's, Meg Foster, aged, emaciated and tragically haggard, looks like she doesn't have much to live for before the game. Leaving Rob's wife, Sheri-Moon, as a hybrid of sole-surviving ingenue and badass tough chick (aka Sigourney Weaver), and the only person halfway vulnerably relatable is sarcastic "comic relief" Jeff Daniel Philips...

31, though, is mostly the fault of its creator. While Zombie has the pattern down alright... his group bands together at the right time while the main antagonist enters with a decent amount of abysmal glory and there's some anticipation of how things'll turn out... he's lazily created expendable victims who were born to die, and yet, expects them to be interesting or likable enough so his story has merit. But throughout this 100-minute blood & guts funhouse from hell, he not only alienates the audience but doesn't seem to consider them at all. Like McDowell lustfully watches the game in progress, this seems like Rob Zombie's personal gift — to himself and himself only.
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