The Devil´s Rejects

The Devil´s Rejects represents something of an achievement for talentless irritation Rob Zombie in that no-one ever dreamed he was capable of making another film as bad as House of 1000 Corpses......until now. Not only is Devil´s Rejects worse than his previous stain on cinema history it is also possibly the most shallow, derivative, nauseating pile of drivel I´ve ever laughed my way through. If Uwe Boll didn´t exist then Rob Zombie would quite simply be the worst film maker currently operating in the world today.

That stupid bloody clown

The "plot" centres on a ridiculous family of murderers who fall somewhere between the Manson family, the Beverly Hillbillies and your old friends from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This band of inbred psychos kill, torture and molest everyone they meet with gay abandon. They call themselves ....wait for it....The Devil´s Rejects....cause that sure spooks the pigs now don´t it.

Horrifyingly Zombie has actually re-used some characters from House of 1000 Corpses and this film serves as a rough sequel. Yet again we are treated to the furiously irritating clown Captain Spalding and a whole host of pathetic sidekicks including a Charlie Manson look-a-like, an overgrown man with Freddy Kreuger´s face, a demented cop just like the one in Natural Born Killers and a couple of scary bikers. Mother Firefly also makes another appearance here cementing her position as the most lewdly over the top hillbilly woman ever created.

We open on a naked female corpse being dragged through the woods by the Freddy Kreuger guy, the camera pans it over it lovingly pausing only to focus on the nipple. The cops roll in and we spend what feels like hours zooming and panning over a stupid farmhouse with a fresh pigs head over the gate and all sorts of junk which it is well known serial killers fill their homes with. The retarded nature of the events about to unfold is established as the cops wake the murderers with a loudspeaker instead of sneaking in and capturing them while they sleep. The hillbilly family reciprocate by donning Ned Kelly suits and have a standing gun fight instead of using their escape tunnel.

After the shootout the remaining clan hit the road in a crazy murder trip which can only end in more death. There are only two subjects in this film, violence and sex, if at any point the characters on screen are not engaged in killing and torturing someone or molesting and raping them then you can be sure they´ll be talking about it. The Devil´s Rejects actually fits the definition of pornography quite well in that it has "no artistic merit". Zombie obviously gets turned on by the thought of molesting and killing so fervent is he in his celebration of depraved behaviour, but while he tries his hardest to shock, the adolescent nature of the material just makes it laughable.

The freakshow hit the road

Rob Zombie´s lack of talents knows no bounds.where to start? The direction is probably the least bad chiefly because Rob doesn´t bother to come up with his own ideas he just uses scenes and camera techniques from other films. The demented way he edits it together is a different matter, he loves to freeze frame, usually on a really bad blurry frame and he does it every five seconds all the way through the film. At one point the freeze frame effect coupled with the 70´s country music made things go all Dukes of Hazard which certainly gave me a laugh. He also does the flashy quick cut action sequence, where you don´t see anything, quite well and generally follows it with a slow motion sequence in which you see too much.

Then there´s the plot, again it is just ripped off wholesale from other films. The structure of the narrative is actually very formulaic but Zombie tries to flip it in the last third and make the aggressors into the victims. Unsurprisingly this completely fails to work. None of the characters have depth or motivations or even proper names and none of the events are even remotely realistic. This is childish storytelling; in fact it´s storytelling by an inbred hillbilly moron child.

Worst of all is the dialogue this guy writes. He´s a "bad" man so naturally there are lots of swear words, the thing is Rob doesn´t bother to use them in sentence form. For example during the opening police raid the murderer characters run about shouting "fuck, shit, fuck, shit". I lost count of how many times they said "titties" and what´s worse every time he squeezes out another line which he knows reflects his genius he just has the character say it repeatedly. In one hilarious scene the mad cop is talking to himself in the mirror a la Taxi Driver and he repeats the line "Lord, I am your arm of justice" three times in a row, then there´s the painfully never-ending chorus of "tutti fucking fruity".

The cast are expert at mistiming their badly written lines; they jump around and overact with incredible inanity. My personal favourites in the awfulness stakes are the clown guy played by Sid Haig and Ma Firefly played by Leslie Easterbrook. They cavort through scenes manically giving the impression they are simultaneously experiencing a crack overdose. Sheri Moon plays the daughter Baby and can´t escape mention for her complete inability to act. It´s funny how the men in hillbilly killer families are hideous and deformed but the women are blond, slim and slutty. Baby serves as inbred eye candy, a Rob Zombie wet dream, and she tries to show off her arse at every availability.

The budget has obviously gone up because this time Rob hired a couple of genuinely scary guys - that guy from The Hills Have Eyes and the greasy Hispanic guy who always plays nasty killers and rapists (Danny Trejo). Unfortunately he doesn´t have a clue how to use them so the now aged and rather pathetic Hills Have Eyes guy is a bit part servant and Trejo is given loads of dialogue which dispels his air of fear because he delivers every line in an off-hand goofy way.

The film drags on for 109 minutes and every single one of them is mind numbingly awful. The Devil´s Rejects is just nonsense, not because it´s sick and violent like the marketing whores want you to believe but because it´s badly done derivative idiocy. If we are lucky some Texan psycho-killer will kidnap, torture, molest and brutally murder Rob Zombie before he can make another film.


Reviewed by Simon Hill

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