By Christian DiMartino
I’ve just this second finished watching Rob Zombie’s latest film, 31, and I really just have one question: why are we still letting him make movies?
I believe this one was actually funded by a kickstarter campaign, which is kind of hilarious. So there, I answered my question: we the people are paying for him to make movies. Money well spent folks. I realize that Zombie’s music and films have a fan-base. But in all honesty, only one of his films is decent, and that’s The Devil’s Rejects. There is really one thing though that sinks all of his films: himself.
Zombie has a sick obsession with carnage and sexuality. And yet when he puts them on display in his films, it’s usually off-putting. He’s almost like a sadist. But that’s not the only issue though. Zombie, as he did with his last film, the unholy abortion that was The Lords of Salem, takes interesting concepts and destroys them with his own pleasures. It’s a real pisser.
And thus brings us to 31, a film that, admittedly, didn’t exactly have my stoked. Basically, it’s easy to know what to expect from a Zombie film. What we expect is just what we get.
The film follows a group of carnival workers (the lead played by his wife, Sheri-Moon, because she can’t get work anywhere else) who are abducted and thrust into a game of life or death, called “31.” One of the co-hosts of the game is played by Malcolm McDowell, and I’ll say, seeing Mr. Alex DeLarge ham it up here can bring some pleasure. The game basically goes like this: they each have to survive twelve hours against whatever goons they send after them.
Interesting enough concept, and it’s clear that Zombie loves this genre. The trouble though, is that not only is he a horrible director, but he’s also a horrible writer. The screenplay is just atrocious, with characters spouting vile nonsense for shock-value sake. It’s complete trash. You might even laugh at just how over-the-top it is, which is probably the point if we’re being honest. Zombie also just doesn’t really know what to do with this concept. It’s a film that just kind of spins its wheels until its over.
31 is awful, that’s for damn sure. And normally I’d be down to just go ahead and fail it. But ya know, I thought back to that night I saw The Lords of Salem. My sister and I both knew it was terrible, but as soon as we saw a red devil dick, we just knew it was an abortion. While this movie does suck (it’s somewhere among the worst of the year), it’s not a film that left me in total agony. It kind of just made me want to move on with my life.