I had no anticipation or information about this movie going in... except for it being a Rob Zombie movie and my enjoyment of all his other movies so far. None of them are perfect but none of them are boring, all of them bring something interesting to the table. Not so much with 31 though... One thing I've generally liked with Zombie's movies is that, unlike a lot of horror films such as Hostel - which promise all sorts of transgressive horrors only to bait and switch with some relatively tame eyeball gouging, Zombie's movies generally follow through on their threats. I never feel safe in his movies (except I'm pretty sure Mrs. Zombie's characters will survive to the final frame). Unfortunately, 31 let all the air out of that balloon dog for me. It didn't ever come close to crossing any lines of standardized horror. Oh sure, Its clown's show up and promise all sorts of vile entertainments... but they never materialize. Instead, we get some badly filmed fight scenes and routine kills that could be out of any war/crime/fantasy film. There's little or no suspense, barely any atmosphere outside of the clowns' initial entrances and Malcolm McDowall's nonsensical prattling. The movie takes its time building up 'Doomhead' but what is he but another loudmouthed guy in a clown suit? I assume he'd go down just as easily to a well-aimed blow to the head. There's really nothing special about him except for the amount of time he gets on screen. He even does the loathsome 'golf clap' routine that should be forever banished to Cliché-land. When the clowns do get their hands on someone they're not likely do do anything surprising at all... just stab them and move on. Unless something nastier was edited out of the version I saw... which I kinda doubt. The carnies themselves had the potential for being the sort of interesting protagonists I'd pull for... and I DID like that they weren't just a bunch of squealing teenagers (Meg Foster especially was fascinating to look at. Older women like her are so seldom allowed on screen in heroic roles). But they're mostly reduced to just goofing around and swearing at each other... maybe it was just bad improv because the writer couldn't think of what to do with them? This is BY FAR the least interesting thing I've seen come from Mr. Zombie. I'm still a fan of his previous films, I'll still watch whatever he makes next... but this one is the bottom dweller. Not that it's such a bad generic horror movie, as just that alone it's fairly average... but it's certainly a bad Rob Zombie horror movie. And being that, it's pretty disappointing.
Horror / Thriller
Horror / Thriller
Five carnival workers are kidnapped and held hostage in an abandoned, Hell-like compound where they are forced to participate in a violent game, the goal of which is to survive twelve hours against a gang of sadistic clowns.
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June 20, 2019