Zombie’s second go around with the Firefly clan.
The Devil’s Rejects is more or less a sequel to Rob Zombie’s first film House of 1,000 Corpses. I say more or less due to several elements of the first film being completely absent. The entirety of Dr. Satan is gone in this film. The cult-like and monstrous creatures are also absent. In a lot of ways, this is a new film with the same characters from the first. However, saying that the film is completely new doesn’t fully work, as there are several references to the previous entry.
The inconsistency between films can be quite jarring for the viewer. Did Zombie ruin the characters, or did they grow? I thoroughly enjoyed this film, but I can appreciate some of the shortcomings in sequence. My advice for anyone who has not seen the movie is to go in with fresh eyes as much as possible.
The characters are the same as the first. However, this time around we aren’t bogged down with stupid teenagers. Instead, the primary focus of the film is the villains and a vigilante sheriff who relentlessly hunts them. The story of the film is once again thin, and I do not wish to discuss it in detail an give spoilers.
Where this film truly excels is the sheer brutality of the Firefly clan. Otis is one of the most ruthless killers in horror of the last several years. He kills for pretension, fun, and what appears to be boredom. His cruelty toward a travelling band is exhilaratingly brutal. The level of violence and sheer will to commit mayhem show that horror films don’t have to water themselves down.
Sheriff Wydell (played by William Forsythe) acts out the old adage from Nietzsche that staring too long into the abyss will cause it to stare back into you. The film blurs the line between victim and perpetrator, as Wydell will stop at nothing to bring about his own form of justice.
The Devil’s Rejects succeeds more on a visceral level than through the narrative. It is an experience that shows the ultimate depravity of man. I enjoyed it thoroughly. The violence is exciting, sometimes funny, and always brutal. The characters are the embodiment of decadent insanity. For me, Zombie hit this one out of the park. This is the closest we will get to a new grindhouse film, it seems. 9/10