Thursday, October 20, 2016

Rob Zombie's 31 - Review

Five carnival workers are kidnapped and thrown in a hellish playpen for the amusement of some British aristocrats. They have to survive 12 hours and content with the intruding presence of killer clowns. 31 is just another severe misfire from Rob Zombie, the rock star turned auteur who has squandered his talent in film simply so he push his wife some more and piss off the viewer. His twisted take on THE RUNNING GAME, which he states in a post-film interview as being a coincidence, revels in its endless cavalcade of nihilistic imagery and extreme crude language and forgoes any standard narrative elements like fleshed out characters or a coherent plot. There's no strict style to the film, switching from black-and-white to hyper surrealism to comic book to filthy exploitation on the dime. The main battleground where are heroes are stumbling around through is never established in a sane manner. The whole place is apparently a bunch of random sound stages and factory corridors that Zombie though would look cool if they were littered with offensive graffiti and blood spray. Those going into this solely for the gory violence will end up royally incensed by the handling of it. The camerawork and editing is more chaotically shakier than a Paul Greengrass joint, give you no chance to understand what's really happening. Couple that with the low lighting and one instance bathed in a strobe light, it becomes physically painful to watch. You can tell it will be a heinous viewing experience right from the starting conflict, where three minor characters are quickly killed off in succession and you have no idea it happened until there's a cut to their bleeding corpses. Speaking of issues with dying players, Zombie at one point has one guy keel over after two nail bat blows to the gut but another one who's been a human pin cushion throughout the film, covered with open stab wounds and bleeding profusely, somehow survives far, far longer. Even simple things like basic continuity and proof-reading the ending credits fail in Zombie's hands. More egregiously, if you have ever seen one of his previous films, you'll absolutely know who will be the "true champion" of the game and how the film will end before frame one. I hated a lot from 31 but the film ends up being so forgettable that you can't really dwell on the ire. Probably the only thing that will continue to irk me is the meaning of its title. I'll give you a hint: Zombie couldn't give it an accurate name because he already soiled that specific designation to a dreadful remake.


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