3 From Hell…
In 2005 Rob Zombie surprised everyone with The Devil’s Rejects – a brutal throwback film, that managed to find the human inside the monster. Now fourteen years later the story of the Firefly clan continues with 3 From Hell.
The film kicks off from the ending of The Devil’s Rejects. The rejects have survived and are now on death row. Early on the film has a TV documentary feel (think Great crimes and trials of the 20th century) giving us snippets of the trial and getting us (the audience) up to speed on the various fates of the three. I really enjoyed this style and wish that the film continued like this for its entirety. The film changes gears and style once there is a prison break out and from here the story of 3 From Hell really begins.
Keeping this as spoiler free as I can, 3 From Hell early on goes to some interesting places, in some cases it is unexpected but knowing who these characters are ‘the old ultra violence’ kicks in. The violence is less brutal than what we’ve seen in The Devil’s Rejects but the violence is certainly still there but I think because of what we have seen previously it is more the threat of what is going to happen rather than what happens. It rolls along for the first part of the film and then there is moment where the film threatens to get weird, sadly we don’t get treated to a weird, head trip and the film reverts to type and becomes uninteresting in the third act.
Bill Moseley slots back into the role of Otis and his performance is nuanced (well as nuanced as a character like that could be), Richard Brake joins the insanity and honestly fits in very well and Sheri Moon Zombie reprises her role as Baby and her performance varies wildly. The cavalcade of other characters played by Jeff Daniel Phillips, Dee Wallace, Clint Howard etc are all put in their best effort even if their role is small and inconsequential.
Rob Zombie knows how to direct and visually creates some indelible images, he certainly knows and loves his influences. However the writing in 3 From Hell isn’t great (not a crime) but it seems unfocused the longer the film goes. 3 From Hell is for the ride or dies, the Zombie fans that will like whatever film he makes but for everyone else the film may hold only a passing interest or none at all. Perhaps too long has passed between films, sure the insane violence and crazy characters are still here but there isn’t anything new on offer here.
Ryan Morrissey-Smith | Twitter: @TigersMS78
Images: Saban Films