So, Rob Zombie. I’m not the biggest fan of his films. Music yes, films no. But for some reason I always find myself watching his films. I will always admit that the man is a great director, his films just don’t do it for me. 31 is my favorite of his films, so there’s at least that much going for it. In all fairness 31 has a lot going for it with its 70’s exploitation mixed with psycho murder games vibe.
31 follows a group of carnival workers containing Charly (Sheri Moon Zombie), Roscoe Pepper (Jeff Daniel Phillips), Venus Virgo (Meg Foster), Panda Thomas (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs) and Levon Wally (Kevin Jackson) are traveling. While in the middle of nowhere they’re attacked and taken hostage. The group are held hostage by an insane trio consisting Father Murder (Malcolm McDowell), Sister Serpent (Jane Carr) and Sister Dragon (Judy Geeson). The deadly trio forced in a deadly game named 31. They have twelve hours to survive while being hunted by murderous psycho paths…
There’s a bit of a slasher vibe in this film. A group of friends are stalked and killed, and Carly as the final girl. So, once this film hits that point I actually really enjoy it. The lead in dragged for me. Though lucky the lead in is short.
I liked the acting, mostly. It took me a while to warm up to the characters. But once I got there I was invested in them. Charly for the most part is the main character, if you have to pick one. 31 focuses on all the characters fairly evenly and every actor does a great job with the time he has and all the actors and actressess display a wide range over the course of the film.
The mood, again once I got into is good. With that spooky, haunting vibe indicative of Rob Zombie’s work. The 70’s atheistic are fun, and pair nicely with the dark terror of the second act. Creating an atmospheric experience.
The psychos are fun and memorable with two of the sticking out the most. Sick-Head played by Pancho Moler and Doom-Head played by Richard Brake. Both are wildly entertaining and are the end caps for the psychos, makes the best notes the first and the last.
The film is incredibly well shot and is in my opinion Rob Zombies best looking film. The films look is distinctly Rob Zombie and those familiar with his work would have no problem identifying this film as his.
Final thoughts, 31 one is okay. Hell, I push it as far as saying its good. It hard horror that doesn’t focus on the gore, which while present is never the forefront. For that I have to give this film a lot of credit as the lacks of visceral action is more character and mood driven. As where the quick shock tends to wear off and be forgotten. 31 is more than then that providing a genuine horror experience. That said I still personally didn’t love it, I just see the merit in it. 7/10