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Review: The Devil’s Rejects (2005)

The Devil’s Rejects (2005) 

Directed by: Rob Zombie

Premise: A follow up to House of 1000 Corpses. In this film the sadistic members of the Firefly family (Sid Haig, Sheri Moon Zombie, and Bill Moseley) go on a killing spree while being pursued by the local sheriff (William Forsythe)

What Works: Like House of 1000 Corpses, this film is an homage to the exploitation films of the 1960s and 70s. The Devil’s Rejects is a much better film than its predecessor. It has a much stronger narrative and it abandons the semi-cartoonish look of the original film in favor of a grittier style of cinematography. The characters are colorful but now have a human dimension that makes them much more engaging. Forsythe almost steals the show in his intense portrayal of a law-abiding sheriff who loses his way ethically and morally. This is the true strength of the film; it starts as a conventional good versus evil tale but over the course of the story this turns on itself and the film muddles the distinction between good and evil to such a degree that the two are indistinguishable.

What Doesn’t: The Devil’s Rejects is a horror film that has no bones about getting its hands dirty. Audiences with a weak stomach or those who require filmmakers to provide them with a moral compass for the film will find the movie difficult if not impossible to get through. There are some discrepancies in the continuity between this film and the original. While most are slight, it does make some parts of the film confusing. 

Bottom Line: The Devil’s Rejects is a must for fans of Rob Zombie or low budget horror films. For them, this film delivers on a primary entertainment level but The Devil’s Rejects also has much deeper levels going for it, exploring the line between the hero and the villain. With this film Rob Zombie has clearly demonstrated his promise as a filmmaker and delivered a picture that is likely to be received with the same kind of praise and controversy of Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers.

Episode: #61 (July 24, 2005)