What we have here is noisy, distasteful, pointless, and sloppy. Everyone speaks leftover dialogue from THE DEVIL'S REJECTS, and what worked for those characters fails miserably for these. Every character in this film speaks as though they are 10 seconds away from throwing the first chair on Jerry Springer. Scenes aren't allowed to build, they jerk and sputter. The best moments come early, between young Michael and his mother (both played very well)...but even those scenes are constantly undermined by bad, choppy editing and surrounding characters (particularly the father) who are horribly written and seem to be played for laughs.
The middle scenes in the hospital are interesting, but ultimately rendered pointless once the final (and worst) third of the film kicks in. Laurie, Annie, and Lynda are feckless foul-mouthed twits this time around, generating zero sympathy. Apparently in keeping with Zombie's theme from HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES and THE DEVIL'S REJECTS, the villain is the hero here, and this time it doesn't work. Since the only sympathetic characters are the supporting players who get pointlessly offed after barely a minute of screen time, the only one to root for is Michael. Is that really what Zombie had in mind?
Judging from the reaction of the audience I saw this film with, it's what he accomplishes. People were laughing when characters were killed. Brutal, calculatedly cruel scenes are featured of nurses stabbed in the neck with forks, children beat to death with poles, teenagers stabbed to death multiple times, animals tortured (offscreen), and slutty topless girls strangled and beaten to death. The audience didn't scream, they laughed. It isn't because the film is funny...it's not. It isn't because the film is so bad it's good...it's not. I've never believed the theory of audience de-sensitizing due to TV, movie, and game violence. Until I witnessed this film.
I've seen movies more violent, more disturbing, more exploitive. But never so pointless, all the while pretending to be about something...anything.
Zombie's creation is a movie about morons, intended for morons. He is a talented and intelligent filmmaker who has made a movie driven by so many distasteful obsessions it practically throbs on the screen. But unlike his previous work, there's no point, not even for sheer trashy exploitation. Characters exist only to be killed. Women disrobe, everyone's vocabulary consists of nothing but four letter words, and the movie hisses and bangs and screams its way to a final, protracted, unexciting chase between an irresponsible babysitter we care nothing about and a 7 foot tall slasher with a Halloween mask fetish and an obsession with a sister he barely knew.
By the time the film screeched to the credits and the lights came up, I had already fought with the four women in front of me (the dumb-ass mother had brought her three daughters, the dumb-assettes, who managed to giggle and snort and talk through a good portion of the movie). The argument continued after the movie was over, complete with name-calling. The entire theatre stared as they silently shuffled out.
This is the reason I despise seeing movies in the theatre anymore. But I realized at least this nasty confrontation had given me something the movie had not: an element of excitement. These four girls had no consideration for anyone around them. They were rude, obnoxious, unreasonable and stupid.
And as my friend and I vacated the theatre, it finally hit me...THEY were the audience this film was intended for.