31 (2015) Film Review. Bow&Arrow Entertainment, Palmstar Media,Protagonist Films, Spectacle Entertainment Group, Windy Hill Pictures.Directed by Rob Zombie. Distributed by Saban Films. Released on DVD and Bluray 20th December US only. Rated R, running time 102 minutes.
Plot Summary;A bunch of Carnival folk in the late Seventies traveling across America, are taken hostage mid journey, by three sadistic, geriatric, Elizabethan dressed idiots, who like to play a game called 31, in which the only rule of the game is to survive for twelve hours, in this industrial maze of factory units, whilst be chased and hunted down by various assailants.
Honestly I'm not the only person to compare the comparison between this movie and The Running Man, as it is almost identical. Where the hostages are being hunted down, by different assailants, not at the same time, as that would have been to easy, but to have a different killer, each time to be easily taken out by the surviving hostages, I was expecting to see SubZero, Buzzsaw, Dynamo and Captain Freedom, pop up at any minute, instead we have a dwarf Hitler Clown, two clown hillbillies, with chainsaws, a lurch type character wearing goggles and a fucking tu-tu, with a wannabe Harley Quinn as his sidekick.
The thing is the violence side of this movie works, it is full on, in your face brutality, with blood gushing everywhere, with very gruesome death scenes, one in particular, where one of the killers actually fall on their own chainsaw, and then gutting himself, is brilliant. This part Rob Zombie is good at, he knows how to produce gore, he knows what his target audience want, that is full in your face gore style. The thing is, his movies always end up looking like some fancy edited music video, with a director straight out of film school showing off all his tricks. I would have loved to have seen this film directed by Quentin Tarantino, yes he can do gore, but his simple approach to film making, and concentrating more on script and character development, would have made this movie amazing, instead of using handheld camera's with shaky cam, when the action is really happening you cannot decipher what is happening on screen at that time.
Rob Zombie clearly loves the horror genre, but he is not good at it, he has great ideas, but somehow fails on every film he makes and produces, yes gore and being sickened by it, is what most people want, I get that, but sometimes in films less is more, you can create tension, without having to resort to gore all the time, it is this approach that is making him predictable now, I almost knew how this film would play out from the start, and I was right second guessing it all the way through.
It is violent, it is a survival type horror, it has Roddy McDowell in it, with his scenes probably filmed in a day, Richard Blake is amazing in this, and is the only genuinely terrifying character, the rest of the film is forgettable, offering absolutely nothing new to the horror genre.
BLU-RAY/ DVD/DIGITAL HD SPECIAL FEATURES
- “In Hell Everybody Loves Popcorn: The Making of 31” Documentary
- Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Rob Zombie.