The Film (3/5)
Rob Zombie as far as filmmaker to audience member relationship goes, we have not seen eye to eye in a long time. His first 2 films House of 1000 Corpses and Devil's Rejects though derivative of certain films and styles (namely garish Italian horror, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and for the latter the films of Sam Peckinpah) I found them quite enjoyable. Then he went and remade John Carpenter's iconic Halloween in a brash white trash style, and Mr. Zombie and I parted ways. His follow up Halloween 2, though it went its own way was terrible, and his Ken Russell pastiche Lords of Salem I found subpar. Needless to say I did not think I would end up enjoying his latest film simply entitled 31.
I can say clearly this is more of Mr. Zombie's brand of white trash horror, but I can further say it is enjoyable more so than his most recent output. The film follows a group of traveling carnival employees who find themselves trapped in a facility called "Murder World". They are forced to play a game called 31 which involves the group being thrown into a maze and being forced to survive for 12 hours while various clowns try to kill them.
It's simple, it's stupid, the characters are terrible, so you don't actually mind seeing them killed, and it's mostly a fun way to waste 100 minute. Is it great horror? Well, yes and no. The film isn't remotely scary, but that isn't what Zombie is going for. It qualifies as a neo-slasher. The characters are set up, dropped off in a location, and then killed off. Of course, that also introduces a problem with the film. The violence is actually pretty tame for the most part. The cut on The Blu-ray is R-Rated, which is kinda bad as Zombie who released the film for a one night showing theatrically assured fans it would be unrated on Blu-ray. I get the feeling there is more to the violence on display here, and since there isn't much else to go on with this film, more gore would have probably added to the carnival like atmosphere on display.
It is a Rob Zombie film through and through. The production design is pretty decent, but if you have seen a Zombie film you definitely know what you're in for. It is cheesy, and for the most part fun. The performances are decent, but I think I knocked off half a point for Sheri Moon's terrible pseudo-Jamaican accent (those should be banned from movies). I'll admit I had a good time, it could have been better, but considering Zombie's recent output it could have been a lot more worse.
Lionsgate presents 31 in a 2:40:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer that looks quite decent. Detail is solid here, blacks and colors are well represented. I don't believe there is anything to really complain about. Audio is presented with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track in English. The track is also quite solid with dialogue and score coming through clearly.
We get a 2 hours making and a commentary track by Zombie.
A reasonably fun film from director Rob Zombie. The Blu-ray looks and sounds decent, and has an in depth but small slate of extras. RECOMMENDED.