The Devil's Rejects (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner03/08/2005

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 101 mins

Writer-director Rob Zombie’s previous film was House of 1000 Corpses, a gory, violent and garishly loud homage to the films of schlockmeister Herschell Gordon Lewis. That The Devil’s Rejects is a sequel to House of 1000 Corpses should tell you everything you need to know.

This time the film is in the style of a 1970s ‘grindhouse’ film, a little bit like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets Easy Rider but with westerns and serial killer flicks thrown in for good measure. It will probably only appeal to hardcore horror fans, but it’s well made and not without a certain wit and style, whilst still managing to be deliberately disgusting in almost every frame.

The Plot

The film opens shortly after the events of House of 1000 Corpses, with the Firefly family involved in a bloody shoot-out at an isolated farmhouse, led by the brutal and blood-thirsty Sheriff Wydell (William Forsythe). Mother Firefly (Leslie Easterbrook) is captured in the raid and meets a nasty end but Otis (Bill Moseley) and his sister Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie, the director’s wife) escape and meet up with their father, the demonic, disgusting and yet oddly charismatic Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), who is still wearing his Evil Clown make-up. Together they embark on a vicious killing and torture spree, hotly pursued by Sheriff Wydell. However, it turns out that Wydell has a few homicidal issues of his own.

The Characters

The Devil’s Rejects is peopled with such thoroughly despicable characters that there is literally no-one to root for. Consequently, when Wydell starts acting worse than the Fireflys themselves (e.g. nailing Spaulding to a chair and setting fire to him), you end up actually feeling sorry for the Fireflys, which is no mean feat on Zombie’s part.

The Good

The one redeeming feature of The Devil’s Rejects is its dark sense of humour. It’s hard to hate a film where a family of killers have all named themselves after Groucho Marx characters (Otis P. Driftwood, Rufus T. Firefly, Captain Spaulding, etc) and Zombie includes a superb scene where the sheriff calls in a film critic in order to give insights into their pathology. When the Sheriff wants to bring ‘this so-called Groucho Marx’ in for questioning, the critic tells him that Groucho died in 1977 but 'Elvis died three days earlier and stole all the headlines'.

Whilst the acting is generally so insanely loud and in your face that it’s hard to really judge the performances, Sid Haig definitely steals the show as Captain Spaulding, largely because he gets all the best lines. Forsyth makes a suitably evil adversary and Sheri Moon Zombie displays enough talent to suggest she could have a career in movies other than those directed by her husband.

The Bad

Some of the scenes of torture and gore are very hard to sit through and will appeal only to hardcore devotees. That said, occasionally they are so outrageously disgusting and violent that you may find yourself laughing in spite of yourself. It does, at least, have a terrific ending that’s part Bonnie and Clyde, part Thelma and Louise and part Butch and Sundance.

The Conclusion

In short, The Devil’s Rejects is not for the faint of stomach and definitely won’t appeal to everyone but it’s worth seeing if you like this sort of thing and if you’re among the few that enjoyed House of 1000 Corpses then you’ll love this.

Film Trailer

The Devil's Rejects (18)
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Content updated: 18/12/2017 03:20

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