The Devil's Rejects (2005)

reviewed by
David N. Butterworth

A film review by David N. Butterworth
Copyright 2005 David N. Butterworth
** (out of ****)

Rob Zombie's "The Devil's Rejects," a sequel to his "House of 10,000 Corpses," is pretty repellent stuff and not for the faint of heart (I counted more than a dozen walkouts around the midway point). But this sick little horror flick--a self-proclaimed "Tale of Murder, Mayhem, and Revenge"--is not without its moments. These moments all tend to come courtesy its writer/director, the White Zombie metallurgist turned bloody auteur, whether via its creepy roster of well-hewn characters, its propensity for ironic humor or, not surprisingly, its selection of songs on the soundtrack, a bitter bloodbath orchestrated to the iconic strains of the Allman Brothers, Three Dog Night, and Lynyrd Skynyrd (whose seminal anthem "Free Bird" backs the "Bonny and Clyde"-inspired finale). Zombie peppers his sequel, a bloody road trip once again featuring Otis, Baby, and Captain Spaulding from the original "'Corpses," with slo-mo and freeze frames a plenty--Sam "The Wild Bunch" Peckinpah territory this--and keeping his hand-held 16mm camera moving constantly. All the obvious cinematic references are here, from "Texas Chainsaw'" through Wes Craven's "Last House on the Left," marinated in much Southern discomfort. And while the material is undeniably vile--the film came close to garnering an NC- 17 rating for its violent content until Zombie (née Cummings) made a few extra cuts--the filmmaker's graphic style insists on peeking through. Book ended by a pair of implausibly ballistic shoot-'em-ups, the grisly, nasty "'Devil's Rejects" also features much female nudity (Sheri Moon aka Mrs. Zombie being the singular exception), relentless brutality, and an impassioned performance by William Forsythe as Sheriff Wydell, a vigilante cop with his own brand of sweet, icky justice.

David N. Butterworth

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