I get Rob Zombie's motivation here: following the critical and fan lambast of his Satanic thriller "Lords of Salem," easily his most creatively out-on-a-limb endeavor yet, it makes sense to scale back and focus on something with a "Running Man"-like simplicity. Unfortunately, the smaller stakes makes it abundantly clear that Zombie has never excelled at directing action or generating thrills. "31" is dead on arrival.
A continuation of Rob Zombie's obsession with "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and 70s pop culture, this time around with twisted game show that probably wants to draw a parallel between viewers from the both sides of the screen. Visuals are striking as expected but the only real character is actually the main villain, which makes most of the movie forgettable. It's still ambitious and with signature that hasn't gone stale.
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.
maybe 2 stars, dunno...but i'm pretty disappointed that after "devil's rejects" he didn't manage to make a decent enough movie following in its footsteps. i hoped for a different solution to the last eye to eye contact, could have all been so much better especially with this huge libertine/de sade reference present.
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.
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.
Packed with style and very little else, 31 finds Zombie's aesthetic perfected. Lacking the originality of The Devil's Rejects or the go-for-broke weirdness of Lords of Salem, 31 is Zombie stripped to his barest bones. It's almost cutesy compared to his other work, but it's surprisingly riveting for its run-time and shows modest but continued growth from a divisive director.
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.