Friday, 21 March 2014

The Devil’s Rejects – A (Mixed) Bag of Bones

If Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects lacks anything, it’s consistency; consistency of tone and, more importantly, consistency of morals . . .


It all starts well enough as we’re introduced to a family of, apparently real-life, psychopaths getting their farmhouse raided by the police. The shootout that ensues is a suitably bombastic opening, and it results in two of the family members escaping. They then get in contact with the utterly evil Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), who spends most of the movie plastered in freaky clown make up, and head off away from the cops. This section really shines as a surreal and totally twisted road-movie, especially thanks to Zombie’s unconventional, but often inspired, musical choices. It also gives the three escapees a chance to have fun with their roles, and all three of them deliver remarkably accomplished performance. And kudos, especially, to Haig's eyes, which are as creepy as anything in the film.

But, if the scariest thing in a horror movie is a guy’s eyes, you know something’s going wrong and the film soon descends into sheer depraved sadism. In particular, one scene of extreme, prolonged police brutality leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

But then everything’s back to normal for the finale. The final sequence showcases everything great about The Devil’s Rejects; it’s terrific to look at, features a great choice of music and just oozes style. It’s really, really impressive.

I just wish Rob Zombie would kick his habit of wasting his talent on sickening sleaze.

★★★