Reject the grisly `Devil's Rejects'

MovieReview

July 22, 2005|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

Rejection would be a good choice for all of us when it comes to this movie, a pastiche of sadistic horror-movie cliches with minor traces of wit but major overflows of perversity.

The Devil's Rejects is a film about a family that maims, tortures and kills for no reason (other than to pleasure movie audiences who are into this sort of stuff). It's badly written, nonsensically plotted and full of cheap shots at people outside its target audience (movie critics get the worst of it, which some of us may consider a badge of honor). It's also loaded with gratuitous sex and violence - rarely does one occur without the other - that's numbing in its relentless pursuit of the extreme.

Reprising characters he introduced in 2003's House of 1,000 Corpses, writer-director Rob Zombie focuses on the further adventures of the murderous Firefly family. Zombie, once best known as the founder and lead singer of the heavy-metal band White Zombie, presents them as a cross between Bonnie and Clyde and mass murderer John Wayne Gacy. Dad Rufus (Sid Haig) is an abusive clown who sidelights as a star of TV commercials, while son Otis (Bill Moseley) is Charles Manson without the redeeming qualities and daughter Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie) is Farrah Fawcett after an especially bad acid trip.

The film opens with a police raid on the Firefly house, from which everyone escapes - save for Mama Firefly, who spends the rest of the movie being verbally abusive in a police holding cell (these Fireflys are an unrepentant bunch). From here, the Fireflys go on a maiming, raping and killing spree, all accompanied by Southern rock songs glorifying human beings' rebellious spirit. I may be wrong, but I don't think the Fireflys are what Lynyrd Skynyrd had in mind when the band performed "Freebird."

Zombie peppers the movie with all manner of former TV stars and horror-movie vets in bit parts. The men get killed in grisly fashion, the women (including Priscilla Barnes, whose career has actually fallen since Three's Company) are shown topless, and then killed in grisly fashion. In fact, about the only woman who isn't shown topless is Sheri Moon Zombie, proving, I guess, that there are advantages to being married to the director.

Of course, if Zombie were really looking out for her, she'd be in another film altogether.

The Devil's Rejects

Starring Sid Haig, William Forsythe, Sheri Moon Zombie

Written and directed by Rob Zombie

Released by Lions Gate Films

Rated R (sadistic violence, strong sexual content, language and drug use)

Time 101 minutes

Sun Score * (one star)

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