Cast:Meg Foster, Ernest Thomas, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Torsten Voges, Bruce Dern, Sheri Moon Zombie, Dee Wallace, Billy Drago, Richard Lynch, Lisa Marie, Maria Conchita Alonso, Ken Foree, Barbara Crampton, Bruce Davison, Christopher Knight, Judy Geeson, Michael Berryman, Sid Haig, Patricia Quinn, Brandon Cruz, Clint Howard, Dan Roebuck, Camille Keaton, Udo Kier, Michael Shamus Wiles
I dig Rob Zombie as a musician, but his filmmaking career has been pretty hit and miss for me, as I've only liked a couple of his films. After much of his work had been based on other material, I was looking forward to seeing what he had in stored for us with Lords of Salem--a film that not only reintroduced witches back to the genre, but also seemingly offered a semi-original story from Zombie himself. After finally watching the film I have to say that this is one of those rare occasions where you either like the movie or you don't; there is no middleground. And unfortunately, I didn't like it.
First off, the film is actually a breath of fresh air from the norm that we get from Rob. The tired foul-mouthed trailer-trash theme has been replaced by a mellowed grunge/hippy-ish look; namely Sheri Moon Zombie, who is the lead of the film, which brings me to my first issue--although it's clear Sheri has improved a bit in her acting abilities, she simply doesn't have the talent, nor charisma to carry a film entirely on her own.
Nevertheless, the style change is definitely welcomed, especially accompanied with the 70's vibe that Rob attempted to deliver throughout the pic, which works at times, while other times it just seemed like he was tryin' too hard to be the next Kubrick or Polanski. Despite some of his failed efforts, Rob does have a unique visual style that's most noticeable in this film than his previous attempts. He offers great use of lighting and colors, and even delivered a couple somewhat creepy scenes thanks to the use of light and shadows early on. Sadly, that's really the only positive aspect I can reveal in an otherwise bland and strange flick.
There's barely even a story--we follow Sheri Moon Zombie as a somewhat popular local radio DJ, who is sent a mysterious record from "The Lords of Salem" to be played on the air. Naturally she does, which begins the hypnotic trance and downward spiral of the character. Meanwhile, an author of a recent witch-related book decides to take it upon himself to research this aptly-named band and their dubious record. It's only a matter of time before modern day witches and the surviving bloodlines become entranced by the dark powers once again in an effort to bring forth Satan himself.
In the end, the biggest problem I have with the movie is it's incredibly slow-burn pacing from the first hour, which offers us a lot of random WTF moments and imagery in an attempt to show us how more insane Sheri is getting. Finally, in the last 30-minutes (when the storyline actually goes somewhere) we're given more strange visuals and WTF moments up until the credits roll. I know some people dig that style and what Rob tried to accomplish, but I personally hated it and felt it was silly and repetitive. I honestly felt like I had wasted entirely too much of my time and just wanted the movie to end already.
Lords of Salem is quite a change for Rob, but a change that didn't quite amount to much. Although the man is well versed in the use of visuals and lighting, he still needs quite a lot of work in the writing and directing department. Though some may dig his attempt at a slow-paced 70's vibe, along with his use of odd imagery, I found it all rather silly and repetitive and was my biggest complaint since that's all that's offered in the first hour. By the time the story finally started to go somewhere, I had lost interest. If you're a fan of Rob's work then chances are you'll dig this, otherwise you'll probably end up either loving it or hating it, since there's very little room for middleground.
|Posted on April 24, 2013 - 9:07pm | FrighT MasteR|