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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

The Devil’s Rejects (review)

A bloodbath set to “Free Bird.” A slo-mo shootout whereby insanely driven cops and against intensely sociopathic serial killers square off. A comic interlude in which the relative merits of Groucho Marx and Elvis Presley as entertainers are debated. If you’ve seen death-rocker Rob Zombie’s debut film, the perfunctory would-be shocker House of 1,000 Corpses, then you’ll be doubly unprepared for how astonishingly in command he is here, in a way that few filmmakers, even those with decades of experience, ever achieve. Like some gritty 70s cinema artifact that fell through a timewarp, his followup rings with the unholy dread of early Tobe Hooper or even — dare I suggest it? — Martin Scorsese: Imagine Marty had made The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and you’ve got it. Sadistic clown Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig: Kill Bill: Volume 2) and his demented, murderous offspring, Baby (Sheri Moon) and Otis (Bill Moseley: Army of Darkness), are on the run from the almost equally demented, equally sadistic Sheriff Wydell (William Forsythe: City by the Sea), and everyone is trailing corpses. Dripping with senseless psychopathy, the flick is thrillingly, trashily classy… at least visually. Zombie wants to leave you feeling empty and alone and as if there’s no point to the universe — whether his success is A Success is up to you.

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watch at home

MPAA: rated R for sadistic violence, strong sexual content, language and drug use

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb
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