31 (2016) [REVIEW]

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Remember how fucking good The Lords of Salem was? So fucking good. Considering how often I’ve voiced my opinions on his Halloween films, I wanted to make note of how much I enjoyed the latest outing from Rob Zombie, a.k.a. Bob Zombo, a.k.a Robert Zommy. I know that Lords was a financial failure and its subtle surrealism didn’t resonate well with Zombie’s diehard fans, but in certain horror circles, fans admired the new direction the filmmaker was headed, taking influences from Italian filmmakers more than grindhouse fare. I was apprehensive about which filmmaking muscles Zombro would flex in his latest film, 31, and I can say with confidence and certainty that not only is 31 Rod Zimbo’s worst movie, but it’s also one of the worst horror films of the year. You did it, Zongie!

 

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I still think you’re cool, Jeff Daniel Phillips!

The film opens with a character called “Doom-Head” talking to the camera about–wait, the character is called DOOM-HEAD? OKAY, GREAT, OFF TO A GOOD START. Anyways, Doom-Head talks to the camera about how much of  bad boy he is, just in case his name isn’t twisted enough for you. Supposedly this guy is talking to someone he’s torturing, but it feels more like he’s alerting the audience to how painful the next hour and 40 minutes will be. Anyways, the film focuses on a group of carnies (because, why not, I guess?) who run into a group of bad boys while driving through the desert, who take the carnies captive. When the carnies wake up, they are told by a group of wig-wearing weirdos that they are about to play the annual game of “31,” which entails various twisted psychos trying to kill them over the next 12 hours. What follows is a completely bland and generic exercise in violence and foul language that Juggalos will absolutely fawn over.

 

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“I play the character Doom-Head! Aren’t I twisted and abrasive?!”

Goddammit. Leave it to Ron Crombie to squander all of the good will he established with The Lords of Salem to give us this atrocious excuse for a movie. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this movie before, back when it was the video game Manhunt. I enjoy House of 1000 Corpses for the most part, and 31 was like all of the worst elements of that movie, plus Malcolm McDowell in a wig. Haha, I forgot that Malcolm McDowell is only ever in one location, in one outfit, making it clear as day that Zimboe could only hire him for like six hours. McDowell’s time on set it relevant because it just adds to how disjointed and segmented the whole movie feels. The carnies are the only constant from one scene to the next, and they’re all such boring characters that you don’t care if any of them live or die.

 

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“And I play the character Psycho-Head! Or maybe I’m Schizo-Head? Either way, I am very extreme and that’s why I’ve written something dicks on my chainsaw!”

Did I mention that there’s a character named “Doom-Head” yet? At one point, we see him having SEX with a GIRL and then he YELLS at her when Malcolm McDowell calls him up to kill people, and then he calls the girl a BITCH because he is AGGRESSIVE. The only thing more arbitrarily abrasive and aggressive  all the characters in this movie are would be the director’s aggression towards his audience. Does he hate us? Did he make 31 to punish us for not going to see his last film enough? OH FUCK. I just remembered some characters are named “Schizo-Head” and “Psycho-Head.” Hahahaha. Why the fuck are all of these characters called “Head”? They’re just clowns. Also, why is the game called “31” where the only connection is that the carnies were kidnapped on October 31. There aren’t 31 clowns, there aren’t 31 rooms, it doesn’t last 31 hours, so what gives? Also, if the significance of 31 is that the events take place on October 31, why would Rod Tomboy have said that he set the movie on Halloween because he read a statistic that the most people go missing on that day of the year, but then have NO other connection to Halloween than an arbitrary number? FUCK, THIS MOVIE SUCKS. I know I’m not making sense and I’m all over the place and I’m cursing a shit ton to get my point across, but, it’s almost like, this review is as narratively cohesive and engaging as 31. Haha, take THAT, movie!

 

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