Five people are kidnapped on the days leading up to Halloween and held hostage in a place called Murder World. While trapped, they must play a violent game called 31 where the mission is to survive 12 hours against a gang of evil clowns.
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Boy, is Zombie ever hit and miss. I love "The Devil's Rejects" and "Halloween II," flawed but wickedly surreal, stylish films that knew how to fuck with expectations and develop characters. And while "31" opens with a quote from Kafka and a killer high-contrast B&W shot, it quickly devolves into lascivious white-trash worship, stale, indulgent, banally-written threat-monologues and toothless violence. Dogshit.
After the excellent 'Devil's Rejects' and the interesting if misconceived 'Lords of Salem' Zombie returns to the puerile lunacy of '1000 Corpses' with this complete mess/miss. A game of death is played encompassing kidnapped contestants, rich ringmasters and depraved killers. Unfortunately the script is just awful and the bloodletting weak. Visually it has its moments but they don't overcome the tedium of watching.
A film that oozes style, with its colorful, flashy, grimy visuals that echo the ugliness of Grindhouse films. Rob Zombie is a divisive director and he proves he won't compromise with this one. Only thing I wish is he compromised some of the insanely shaky videography during the more climactic moments. The lack of clarity in this film is sometimes truly abysmal and detracts from an otherwise boldly disgusting film.
A horror riff on The Running Man by way of Rob Zombie could have been so cool. But Zombie dropped the ball here, as 31 could've had the intensity and knife-edge balance between the artistically mature and bonkersness that made The Devil's Rejects and Halloween II beautifully grueling. Here, he returns to House of 1000 Corpses territory, and it feels like a freshmen film in its execution and script. Amateur, indeed.
Zombie's best film since The Devil's Rejects, but still not quite as good as that (and perhaps that movie's source of fascination is accidental). But regardless of the fact that this movie doesn't always work (i.e. doesn't always transcend the bounds of convention and get truly crazy), Zombie remains the only director working in this genre whose imagination demands some admiration.
Rob Zombie's the Leslie Nielsen of horror filmmaking. this film is so appallingly stupid that it becomes an ingenious and hilarious spoof comedy. Zombie's films are divise for horror fans, but once we accept that the man doesn't have a clue on how to make horror, we can enjoy it for what they are, hysterical grindhouse exploitation homages that most of the times are done right. either see this as crap or great comedy
The plot, such as it is, is pretty much beside the point. This is just a canvas allowing Zombie to flex his considerable talent with mood and nihilism—though 31 never approaches anything resembling scary. He honors his influences well: nods to everything from THE WARRIORS to EYES WIDE SHUT to ROCKY HORROR. But 6 movies on, it all feels too easy and a bit lazy—a step back from the wonderful but flawed LORDS OF SALEM.