THE DEVIL'S REJECTS
Review by Michael Jacobson
Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon Zombie, Ken Foree, Matthew McGrory,
William Forsythe, Leslie Easterbrook, Michael Berryman, Geoffrey Lewis,
Director: Rob Zombie
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Lions Gate
Features: See Review
Length: 109 Minutes
Release Date: November 7, 2005
AM the devil...and I'm doing the devil's work."
my man Ed here at DMC stated, leave it to Rob Zombie to finally get a 70s styled
horror movie right. I couldn't
Devil's Rejects is the real deal. Forget Land
of the Dead. Forget 28 Days
Later. Forget the remakes of Dawn
of the Dead, Amityville Horror and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
In fact, this is the film the TCM remake SHOULD have been.
a sequel of sorts to Zombie's instant cult classic House of 1000 Corpses.
It follows the same characters, but with a different tone.
It's less campy, more focused, and more driven...also a lot more
frightening and unforgettable.
opens with a bang, as the new Sheriff Wydell (Forsythe) has staged a rage on the
Firefly household, where we last saw was the site of some rather unholy deeds.
Wydell was in fact the brother of the deputy who got dispatched in that
movie, so his interest in the family is a little more than just good old
fashioned law and order. He
captures Mother Firefly (Easterbrook), but Otis P. Driftwood (Moseley) and Baby
on the run, they arrange to meet up with everyone's favorite sociopathic clown
Captain Spaulding (the hilarious Haig), whom we now learn is Baby's daddy.
He arranges for them to hide out at a bizarre western themed adult
entertainment ranch run by his brother (Foree), but before they reach their
destination, there will be much mayhem and bloodshed.
hotel encounter with a traveling country act is just the beginning, but not the
end. Your stomach will definitely
tie itself up, but relief is still a long way away. I don't want to give away the film's surprises, but I will
say that Wydell and the family eventually have their inevitable confrontation,
and it's probably the single most unsettling sequence I've seen in a horror
movie since the dinner table scene in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Zombie is a walking lexicon of classic and cult horror movies...fans of his
music know that well; his knowledge of fright flicks has added spice to his
albums for years. If anybody could
make a true throwback to the kind of independent, small budgeted but influential
and unforgettable pictures of the 1970s, it was him. Compare his movie to some of the other recent movies I've
mentioned and you'll see what I mean. Zombie
knows that it's more than copious amounts of blood and gore that made these
pictures work. It was a real sense
of dread and tension that had to be tautly woven into the fabric of the film.
Without it, all that's left is a pointless vomitorium of an experience.
script is tight, well paced, and allows his characters space to develop, and for
their relationships to be defined. In
other words, there are emotional investments at stake here, even if we're
talking about a family of killers. Most
similar movies make the mistake of having us feel nothing for the victims nor
the killers, so we watch as though we were seeing a train wreck on TV, with a
morbid fascination but an emotional detachment.
The Devil's Rejects is a gripping, harrowing film in more ways
than one...that's why it stands above the competition.
instinctively knows that gore is only gore if it's not inventive.
What he has to show us in his film will definitely activate a gag reflex
or two, but no one can say it's not imaginative and creative.
Better still, he understands how important humor can be in a horror
movie. In between scenes of shock
and fright are quotable bits of dialogue that will have you laughing out loud
just when you need it most.
must also go to his stars, who are all much better performers than these kinds
of films usually demand or receive. Bill
Moseley injects Otis with an inexplicable appeal despite his misdeeds, to where
we're both frightened and drawn to him at the same time.
Sherri Moon Zombie (now the director's wife!) has developed Baby past her
squeaky voiced giggling cherubic faced villainess into a more palatable
character. And the great Sid Haig
has given cult fans the newest and one of the best fright film anti-heroes with
Captain Spaulding. The three of
them are so good, I only hope they'll be back to do more films with Zombie.
And yes, friends, Zombie is the real star of the show. In just two films he's shown tremendous growth as a writer and a director, and has learned how to channel his love for the macabre into something substantial. He's done what many big-named artists like Michael Bay and George Romero have failed to do, and that's to deliver a picture that truly frightens rather than just shock and startle. The Devil's Rejects delivers on the promise of House of 1000 Corpses and then some. I can't wait to see what other tricks Rob Zombie has up his black sleeves.
TRIVIA: Ken Foree and Michael Berryman are both 70s horror movie veterans
themselves, from Dawn of the Dead and The Hills Have Eyes, respectively!
Devil's Rejects is a throwback film in every sense of the word, including the look.
Zombie's stylistic choices include deliberate use of grain and less
saturated colors from time to time. The
overall effect is quite striking, and this anamorphic presentation keeps the
unique quality of his vision intact.
is a helluva soundtrack (no pun intended).
Sound is critical in horror, and the 5.1 mixes (Dolby Digital and DTS)
are strong and enveloping, with great dynamic range that goes from subtle to
explosive. The music is
particularly good, with lots of classics from acts like The Allman Brothers,
Otis Rush, Lynryd Skynyrd and more. In
fact, you may never think of "Freebird" the same way again after
seeing this movie!
unrated director's cut is the way to go, friends...not only does it preserve
Zombie's vision and purpose, but it's loaded to the gills with goodies.
There are two great, informative and entertaining commentary tracks.
One is by Rob Zombie himself, who discusses the making of the movie in
great detail and is depreciating enough to point out his own mistakes and
errors. The second features cast
members Bill Moseley, Sherri Moon Zombie and Sid Haig, and is an absolute scream
(again, no pun intended) to listen to.
is a short blooper reel with some creative uses of text, and two of Captain
Spaulding's TV commercial in their entirety:
the "Mary the Monkey" spot from the film and the unused
"Santa Claus" one. You
can also see the untrimmed version of "The Morris Green Show", as well
as Otis' "home movie" about the missing cheerleader.
are deleted scenes (presented in one sitting; you can't watch them one at a
time), some trailers and TV spots (same deal), a classic music video from Buck
Owens, make-up tests, a still gallery, and a tribute to the sadly
recently-departed Matthew McGrory, who played Tiny in both movies.
that's the first disc. The second
disc contains a 144 minute VERY detailed documentary on the making of the movie,
with behind the scenes footage that goes from pre-production to the last day of
menu screens are also well done, but not quite as much as the DMC Award winning
Best Menu Screens for House of 1000 Corpses. All in all, a generous and fun-filled package of extras!