Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Film Review: The Devil's Rejects (2005)

The Devil's Rejects (Review)
United States/2005
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...packed with quotable dialogue, effective tension and horror, and a dastardly pinch of black humor."

In 1978, the home of a family of demented serial killers known as The Devil's Rejects is raided by the police. Otis Driftwood (Bill Moseley) and Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie) escape and try to outrun the police...

The Devil's Rejects follows Otis and Baby as they find themselves at a roadside motel. The siblings take a traveling band hostage while they wait for their father, notorious clown Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), and plan their next move. Of course, Otis and Baby like to have a little fun with their hostages and Spaulding shows up right on time. The film continues to follow the family as they search for refuge and try to escape Sheriff Wydell (William Forsythe), the officer willing to go to any length to catch the killers. The film leads to a bloody climax and a good ending.

The Devil's Rejects is a great horror film. The film is raw and disturbing. It's a very chilling experience. The film's portrayal of the serial killing family is sinister. Their actions are heinous and despicable. Some of these scenes are absolutely unforgettable. Can it be considered gratuitous? Sure. Is it effective? Yes. Aside from its disturbing content, the film adds a much needed pinch of black humor. Fortunately, the humor is excellent in both balancing the film and delivering some laughs. You may feel guilty for laughing, but this entire film might make you feel guilty anyway – laugh, it'll make you feel better. The only issue I had with the plot was the bloated runtime; this is because of some dragged out scenes.

Bill Moseley and Sid Haig steal the show with their superb performances. They play their characters with unwavering confidence – it was like they were born for the roles. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Sheri Moon Zombie. Sheri Moon Zombie is passable during some of the “casual” scenes, but she's severely lacking in conviction when the role becomes demanding. This can occasionally take you out of the experience because you can't really believe half the things coming out of her mouth. I think she was miscast, which hurt the film.

Otherwise, the film is very stylish. The cinematography is great for the grungy, Texas Chainsaw Massacre style and the music is great — it syncs perfectly with the film. Writer and director Rob Zombie crafts his disturbing vision without compromise. The narrative is strong, the dialogue is fantastic, and the direction is mostly wonderful. The casting of Sheri Moon Zombie, however, was a mistake — the same way it was a mistake in The Lords of Salem, another Rob Zombie film I thoroughly enjoyed.

Overall, The Devil's Rejects is a great film. It's certainly not for the lighthearted or squeamish. But, if you have a strong stomach for the demented, The Devil's Rejects is an experience you won't soon forget. Furthermore, The Devil's Rejects is packed with quotable dialogue, effective tension and horror, and a dastardly pinch of black humor. Aside from some dragged out scenes and Sheri Moon Zombie's performance, this is a great film. Not for everyone, but perfect for someone.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Graphic violence and blood, sex and nudity.

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