Tuesday, November 15, 2005
On Rob Zombie Movies...
I really liked House of 1000 Corpses, though I wouldn't rank it as my favorite movies in that genre. It would, however have a place somewhere in the top 20. It simply had elements of other movies that I liked, coupled with a surreal feel that really made it shine. The best scene, without a doubt, was the "I Remember You" sequence with the impossibly long crane shot.
I also loved Blair Witch, though, so maybe that tells you something about my taste in horror flicks.
So I attempted to pursuade the cashier at Suncoast to sell me The Devil's Rejects on Monday before it was released on Tuesday, but to no avail. The "collector's edition" DVD finally made it home on Saturday, so with the children all snug in their beds, I cranked the surround sound and descended back into the world of the Fireflys.
The real magic in the movie is how Rob manages to completely blur the line between antagonist and protagonist. At no time is there any clear character you want to come out victorious. Everyone is doing things that are, well, just sadistic, but their actions are so ingrained into the characters that you quickly realize that there aren't any "good guys" here. Some will praise Rob's "round" character development, others will criticize his decision to make all the characters equally vile, but as with the first film, people will generally either love this one or hate it. If, however, you hated the first one, you still may want to give this one a try. It's truly a completely different feel.
I suppose there will be those who loved House that won't like this one, but somehow I doubt there will be many.
One thing that distinguishes this film from many other horror movies is that much of the action takes place in broad daylight. There's something about a scene that can chill you to the bone that's shot in stark natural lighting that really makes you realize (if only in retrospect) how much you've allowed yourself to be drawn into the story.
This isn't a film, by the way, that depends upon cheap "startle" value, nor does it really try to shock the audience with it's (substantial) gore factor. Many of the more brutal events are left mostly to the imagination. Not content to merely scare you, it truly, deeply, disturbs you.
Another thing that is of note. Contrary to reports that surrounded every media mention of the movie when it hit box offices, there is NOT a rape scene in this movie. I'm trying to avoid any real spoilers, but the scene in question has to do with some "do this, say that" at gunpoint, with distinct sexual overtones. Though "violation" may be accurate, it is not a "rape scene" by any but the broadest definition. The scene is, however, very disturbing, and you will be (and should be) very uncomfortable watching the scene. In that way, it achieves its goal, not being gratuitous at any level, but rather instrumental in really getting into the viewer's psyche.
The defining moment of the film, however, is the ending. I have never, in any movie, been so drawn into the ending of a film as I was this one. Seriously, it's the single best ending to a movie I've ever experienced.
We're talking an Oscar quality ending for a film that won't even be seen by most of the people interested in the Academy Awards.
It also leaves you with a mix of feelings that you'll be weeks sorting out.
The Devil's Rejects is a movie that deserves more recognition as a horror masterpiece than it will probably ever receive. As more and more films in this genre are produced (presumably to fill the void of new ideas in Hollywood), it will likely get lost in the shuffle, only remembered by a handful of fans. Before this one gets away from the stores, though, it's definitely worth a look.
And a final thought to those who have seen the film: Free Bird