1 September 2016 | Michael_Elliott
Saw With Rednecks; Zombie's Worst Yet
* (out of 4)
A group of carnival workers are on their way to a job when they are kidnapped by psychotic clowns. Once chained up in a building, Father Murder (Malcolm McDowell) informs them that they're going to play a game, which will last twelve hours. They can either survive or face the worst death possible from his killer clowns.
Rob Zombie's 31 is a film that he's highly been promoting and this includes before it was even made. There was a teaser poster released and fans helped get the movie made but the plot of the film was kept secret and it's easy to see why because there's not much of one. Sadly, what we've basically got is SAW but with the redneck/white trash types that we've seen in every Zombie movie up to this point. Sadly this here turns out to be the director's worst film.
31 has all sorts of problems with it and a majority of them are the same issues I've had with his previous movies. For starters, the characters are all just annoying to the point where you don't really care whether they live or die. I'm not sure why it's so hard for their to be a likable character in one of Zombie's films but if you don't have anyone to root for what's the point? Well, I guess it could be one of those movies where you root for the villains but that's impossible here too because the villains are all boring and just not that interesting. Heck, they're not even "clowns" but just the typical rednecks but with face paint.
Another problem that I had with this film is that it's simply not scary. As was the case in THE LORDS OF SALEM, Zombie tries to build up tension and suspense but it just fails. There's just nothing here that draws you into the story and when you're watching a film like this and there's no tension it just leads to pure boredom. Even worse is some of the lighting because there are times where you can't see what's going on and other times when lights are flashing at the camera and whatever effect they were going for just doesn't work.
Zombie promised that this here would be his most violent movie and I don't think that was the case either. A lot of the violence is off screen or just not nearly as brutal as he has delivered in the past. The performances are pretty much what they are with everyone doing a decent enough of a job. The music selection is good and I will say that there was one good sequence inside a cage with a chainsaw. Still, there's just no way around it but Zombie just isn't impressing me as a director. 31 could have been done countless other ways and any of them would have been better than what we got.