Movie Review: 31

Rob Zombie’s 31 is the musician/director’s latest film and it is surely a wild ride. If you liked the style that Zombie displayed in films like The Devil’s Rejects, The Lords of Salem, and his remake of Halloween, then it is safe to say you will like 31 as well. And I am one of those people. But even I walked away from this movie a little disappointed.

The movie follows a group of carnival workers who are ambushed and attacked by a group of strangers while they are traveling. After a few of them are killed, the remaining five, who include Sheri Moon Zombie, Meg Foster, and Jeff Daniel Phillips, are taken to a horrific compound and are told that they are now playing a game called 31. All they have to do is survive 12 hours in this compound with various psychos trying to kill them.

From here, the group is hunted down and killed off by the various killers that are set loose in the compound. But, in the end, it comes down to one lone survivor and the one psycho, nicknamed Doom-Head, who never lets anyone escape. It quickly becomes a matter of avoiding Doom-Head long enough for the time to expire and walking out of this hell alive. But, just because the game officially ends doesn’t mean that anyone is ever safe.

The performances from Phillips, Zombie, and Doom-Head actor Richard Brake is the highlight of this movie. Phillips and Zombie work well as two of the five carnival workers that are fighting for their lives. And Brake is tremendous as the madman Doom-Head. He is by far the highlight and, like in the picture above, made me think that he could easily portray a very dark and sinister Joker. But, for as good as these actors were, Malcolm McDowell was equally as disappointing as the bland Father Murder.

The story was also very well and made for a good premise. But the movie was also filled with a lot of dialogue that was not needed and plenty more of Zombie’s trademarks that just didn’t sit well with me in this movie. Maybe it was because I have seen it all in every other movie he directed and it has been a tired act. I’m not sure. But these things really disappointed me. And that’s not even mentioning the ambiguous ending that just left viewers hanging. So, if you like Rob Zombie’s films, there is a possibility that you will really enjoy 31. But, if you were hoping for something new, this will let you down and have doubts as to whether Zombie can stray from the familiar things he does.

Daryl Karpinski, Jr.