Monday, October 4, 2010

The Devil's Rejects (2005)

Coming off of the insane visual experience that was HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES, Rob Zombie performs a complete reversal in style and tone with his companion piece, THE DEVIL'S REJECTS. Picking up shortly after the events of the previous film, THE DEVIL'S REJECTS finds the Firefly family on the run from the law, and leaving a trail of bodies in the wake of their escape.

Here, Zombie is able to take a group of truly despicable monsters and somehow bring out their humanity in a way that makes them accessible and likable despite their horrifying acts. Many critics have argued that Zombie has unfairly forced the audience to align themselves with the killers through his kind portrayals of the characters, but he would be unable to do so without getting beneath their trashy exteriors and drawing out their twisted sense of family and friendship. Likewise, Rob demonizes the character of Sheriff Wydell, and transforms him from the altruistic "Hand of God" into the same breed of ruthless killer which he despises. It is only natural that the audience grows to hate him in the process. While each of the performances are provocative in their own right, it is Bill Moseley's depiction of the foul-mouthed Otis that stands out above all others. He commands the screen with a terrifying display of power and unmatched evil. Only William Forsythe stands to top him as the bulldog Sheriff that decides to take the law into his own hands.

THE DEVIL'S REJECTS removes the safety of the extravagant coloring and comic book characters from HOUSE in place of a washed-out color palette and gritty realism that is reminiscent of the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. The film does maintain the humor from before, but it does so in a darker and more unsettling way. Otis, Baby, and Cutter make sharp but crude remarks that momentarily cut the tension during the disgusting torture scenes. They force guilty laughs out of audiences, who are then left feeling as sick and depraved as the villains as a result. Rob Zombie has not only dramatically improved his writing skills, but his directing and editing as well. The film's closing scene best epitomizes these changes, as the Reject's last standoff offers the same devastating impact as the climax of Ridley Scott's THELMA AND LOUISE. Yes, THE DEVIL'S REJECTS has just been compared to THELMA AND LOUISE.

THE DEVIL'S REJECTS is truly Exploitation at its very best. It is dirty, filthy smut, in all the right ways. No audience member can walk away unscathed from its horrifying depictions of blood and violence. Rob Zombie has created one of the defining films of the 2000's, and one that he may never be able to top.

Rating: 9/10.
Gore: 6/10.

If you liked THE DEVIL'S REJECTS, check out:
THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, WOLF CREEK, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE.

11 comments:

  1. Just not my cup of tea, I suppose. :)

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  2. giving them a soul as killers, but the only really cared about themselves. it was a nice step away from 1000's corpses. well balance of good/bad vs evil/good
    :)
    iZombie

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  3. I also thought it was very interesting how he took a group of people that you should hate, and flip it on you. I was surprised how I actually felt sorry for them in some way. Really they deserved what they got, but I was a little sad for them. Or maybe I was just sad they can't do another movie unless it is a prequel.

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  4. You're right...the Mose owned in this film. Well he owns in all films but he is especially ownable in this one.

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  5. This is the only Robbie Z. movie I moderately like. There's the stupid, infantile dialog (a whole scene is devoted to chicken fucking) as usual and his typical fascination with making the audience "care about" his serial killers.

    One minute we watch them slowly torture innocent people and butcher them in brutal fashion. The next minute we share an ice cream with them and watch their home movies. Give me a break. Oh, and let's not forget the poignant musical cue when murderer/rapist Tiny decides to end it all and enter the burning house.

    The 70's vibe and William Forsythe was the only things about this I liked.

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  6. best movie of rob zombie's filmography

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  7. V the only reason I don't completely side with the "care about" argument is that Zombie has only released 3 films, and he made no attempt to make anyone care about the Rejects in HOUSE. His next several features will either cement or destroy that point (granted he may be reacting to criticism at this point), but I still feel that there was no gun held to anyone's head in connecting with the villains, it was a much more natural progression than in HALLOWEEN.

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  8. I never connected with them. I wanted Forsythe's character to kill them all. I thought it was stupid to try and "force" me to like them when it didn't matter how many ice creams, or home movies, it wasn't going to happen.

    He's done this in his HALLOWEEN movies, too, especially his first cut of the first film. Thankfully, the Weinstein's made him reshoot a lot of it. It was still crap in my eyes, but better crap than what he intended. It's one thing to create SYMPATHY for the villain, but it's something else entirely to make them "HEROIC".

    I've tried to like Robbie Z's movies. I like certain things about some of them. We'll see if his LORDS OF SALEM is any better, although I'm most curious to see how he's gonna weave trailer trash into this one.

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  9. *SPOILER ALERT*

    HALLOWEEN I cant dispute by any means, that was much more forceful and unnecessary. Early on in REJECTS, I don't feel that anyone in the audience was siding with the villains, though. I was absolutely repulsed by them after killing the Sullivan gang, but it wasn't until we saw that other side of them that anyone could truly relate to them. Early on, I desperately wanted the Sullivan characters to somehow make it out alive, and squirmed in my seat when they suffered the fates that they did. I also completely sided with Forsythe up until his character snaps and becomes even more aggressive than the killers.

    *END SPOILER*

    I think audiences were split in who they sided with, and whether they felt that that was the film's greatest strength or weakness. I don't ever blame anyone for despising the same aspects of the film that I love, but I always find it interesting =D

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  10. Yeah, I could give less than half of a shit about this movie. I really have no interest in Rob's films. I gave his unrelated cartoon film a chance, but it was a painful experience. Referencing 'The Abominable Dr. Phibes' will not make me like you!

    I can share this story related to the film instead...

    One fellow employee at the movie theater I worked from late 2005 to early 2006 decided to lecture a woman for going to see this with her daughter, who couldn't have been over 9 years old. While he was right, he made the lady mad, she complained and he got fired. Idiot.

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  11. Dude that's awesome, and well worth it for your friend. I'm sure it was hard to replace that job at the movie theater =D

    Haven't watched his HAUNTED WORLD yet, not really interested, but I was blown away by this one in the theaters. I'm surprised there was enough footage to make a cohesive story and still get an R after editing out the harder stuff.

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