31 (2016)

September 20, 2016 - 4:45pm | FrighT MasteR

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Rob Zombie
Sheri Moon Zombie, Torsten Voges, Elizabeth Daily, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, David Ury, Daniel Roebuck, Judy Geeson, Malcolm McDowell, Richard Brake, Lew Temple, Devin Sidell, Jane Carr, Ginger Lynn, Pancho Moler, Tracy Walter, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Meg Foster

Rocker-turned-director Rob Zombie is back with yet another grimy horror piece titled 31, which is in reference to the movie taking place on Halloween. Set in the mid-70's, the pic follows a group of greasy traveling carnies on their way to the next venue when they're kidnapped and forced to take part in a sadistic game hosted by some wannabe aristocrats. The game pits them against various psychotic killers in clown attire and they must do whatever necessary in order to survive the next 12 hours. If they're somehow able to survive the ordeal they can go free, but they've reportedly never had a winner before, so good luck with that!

Aside from The Devil's Rejects and the Halloween remake (to some extent) I'm not really a fan of Rob's work, as he tends to use the same formula with all his films, so you either like the trashy look or you don't. I try to stay in the middle and approach each one of his movies with an open mind, but he really makes it difficult when his writing and style of filmmaking doesn't seem to improve at all. It's basically the same movie over and over again, just with a slightly different story.

Though, one thing Rob does manage to get right sometimes is offer some interesting characters and this movie surprisingly delivered probably one of his best written characters to date: Doom-Head. From the start actor Richard Brake steals every scene he's in as the mysterious and charismatic Doom-Head--a vile killer-for-hire that loves his job and does it well. I would've rather seen an entire movie based around him instead of what we actually got, because I found myself rooting for Doom-Head more than any of the unlikable leads.

Next to Doom-Head we had some other interesting villains, like a Spanish-speaking Nazi dwarf, a couple chainsaw wielding clowns, and a German dude and his tiny female sidekick named Sex-Head. Sadly I didn't really care for any of these other antagonists and found myself bored by their silly antics, especially the dwarf who had way too much focus at the start of the game.

The movie clocks in at slightly over a 100-minutes, which is about 15-minutes too long, in my opinion, as some scenes could've easily been shorted or removed entirely. Ironically the movie did receive several cuts in order to secure an R-rating, which is noticeable considering its lack of on screen gore. There's no shortage of blood spilt, but if you go in expecting a gorefest you'll be sorely disappointed, especially since a lot of scenes are hard to even see with the camera moving around so damn much. Had the flick been shortened and the gore amped up this could've been a decent watch, but as it stands it's just another disappointing Rob Zombie effort.

31 is everything you'd expect from a Rob Zombie movie and if you're not a fan of his style then chances are you're not gonna like this, because there's nothing new going on here. With its poor dialogue, unlikable characters and lack of on screen gore, there's not a lot to like, but thankfully the Doom-Head character's pretty awesome and made the movie somewhat enjoyable. Aside from that, unless you like Rob's previous work I'd recommend skipping this.

Author Information

FrighT MasteR's picture
FrighT MasteR is an avid horror fan / monster hunter extraordinaire, who created and has been running UHM since its inception, way back in 1999.




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