31 (2016)

  • Time: 102 min
  • Genre: Horror | Thriller
  • Director: Rob Zombie
  • Cast: Elizabeth Daily, Malcolm McDowell, Sheri Moon Zombie


The day before Halloween, five carnival employees are kidnapped & held hostage in an isolated compound known as “Murderworld”. On Halloween, they are thrown into a sadistic game called “31” where they must survive 12 hours against a gang of maniacs dressed like clowns. However, the clowns aren’t the only ones they need to worry about – a grand scheme of satanic rituals & a much more sadistic plot awakens. It’s time to play 31.


  • “I’m not here to make you happy. I’m not here to brighten your dismal day. And I am certainly not here to elicit an amused response. I am here to end your miserable life.”

    I’m not a real hardcore Rob Zombie fan. In a dark past, I saw “House of 1000 corpses”. A kind of “Texas Chainsaw massacre” story, where a group of nobodies fall into the hands of a crazy family. And a few years ago I saw the not so brilliant “The Lords of Salem” with a pack of elderly witches haunting a local female disc jockey. Far from impressive and filled with absurd scenes. The most exciting part were the seductive curves of Zombie’s wife (Sheri Moon Zombi). And that’s all I knew about Rob Zombie’s oeuvre. Had I known this was another movie from him, perhaps I would have skipped it. It may sound a bit morbid, but eventually I thought it wasn’t so bad.

    Don’t expect a thoughtful story or some masterful twists in this film. This is nothing more than a straightforward slasher with the keywords sadism and survival. The film is ideal to watch next Halloween. The film title is also linked to this horror holiday. The number 31 refers to the 31st October (Yes, Halloween). And just as in “All Hallows’ Eve” there are again ugly, cruel clowns who make some traveling carnival workers’ life miserable. Along the way to Ardleyville they are attacked by some unknowns dressed as thugs and five survivors are transported to a kind of indoor circus. Here they are being received by a trio of idiots who look as if they came from the Renaissance time (looks like it when you see their clothes and old-fashioned wigs ). The five are told that they participate in a game called “31” and they need to survive the next 12 hours so they are free again. However, they have to stand up to five clowns, called “Heads” (Sick-Head, Psycho-Head, Schizo-Head, Death-Head and Sex-Head), in this endless-like maze.

    And when those mad clownish figures are equipped with terrible weapons like a bat full of nails, chain saws and sharp knives, you’ll realize that this will become a macabre party. And the murderous clowns are not only unhinged psychopaths who ruthlessly slaughter their victims, they also look grotesque in terms of clothing. A cruel dwarf with a Hitler look, equipped with all kinds of SS attributes, is really confronting. What follows is a sadistic cat and mouse game with bloody massacres as a result. The film is not only filled with barbaric scenes but the language is as coarse as the violence. The five not very intelligent-looking victims and their executioners use unambiguous expressions peppered with sexist and foul mouthed terminology (in several languages).

    Ultimately, it isn’t very original and it only revolves around the senseless killing of the hunted individuals who try to defend themselves as efficiently as they can. A concept that has already been used several times (as in “The Purge: Anarchy”). However, there was one majestic moment in the beginning. The opening scene in black and white with the Satanic-looking Doom-head (Richard Brake) who gives an impressive speech to a forthcoming victim. A fascinating moment perfectly imaged with a stunning use of light effects. This raises the expectations towards the rest of the movie. Unfortunately, those expectations aren’t met. But it’s still a good alternative to add “31” to your “to watch” list at Halloween night.

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  • OK, how about another poem for the review I’m going to write. This time it’s a horror film titled 31. Rob Zombie directs. Here goes:

    31 is Rob Zombie’s latest. It’s twisted, dark, and bloody. The protagonists are in the middle of nowhere, “Texas Chainsaw” ripoffs aplenty. The movie’s plot is a sport, a sport of life and death. Malcolm McDowell co-stars, this ain’t no Macbeth.

    The time is 1976, the holiday is Halloween. Zombie’s style is evident, like a carnival with freaks and bad hygiene. The soundtrack is 70’s chic, with James Gang as an opening tune. 31’s buildup is kinda lacking, its got a cast including Sherri Moon.

    The screenplay is macho, with F-bombs and talk of rape. There’s a death countdown, odds, and virtually no escape. Zombie felt The Warriors and countless other flicks. He inspired an extended ending, just so everything could stick.

    Moon looks like Marilyn Burns as 31 hits its stride. She’s all bloodied up, the world is unkind. I felt overly exhausted by the time the credits rolled. This is a weirdly deviant slasher film if may be so bold.

    This all reminded me of The Running Man, that vehicle they call 31. The poster looks legendary, but the game is almost zero-sum. Zombie uses freeze frames and the tension is justly warm. I wanted House of 1000 Corpses, I got a similar free-form.

    Welcome Back, Kotter gives 31 a cast member. There’s also Meg Foster from a John Carpenter sender. 31 went Sundance via January 23rd. Saban Films then acquired it, German accents are inferred.

    A few souls trapped in a funhouse, a notion ripped from Zombie’s childhood. 31 is pure manipulation, I always knew that it would. The opening scene is torture porn, the dialogue is nasty as heck. Sheri Moon Zombie turns badass, The Mamas & the Papas sing for a sec.

    There are chainsaws and kills and decomposing stiffs. There are shallow characters, nocturnal psychopaths, and internal tiffs. The villains channel Barry Lyndon, the length is 102 minutes. I might give a mixed review, that’s just my business.

    The pace of 31 is constant, the sickening factor is clear. The setting might be Texas or it could be I don’t know, elsewhere. I fairly liked this movie, I’ve totally seen worse. Zombie will indeed make another one, you can bet on that verse.

    Zombie’s got talent and his flick thinks its breaking new ground. He used to be a singer, now he’s a relentless trepidation hound. There’s ample agitation and 31 is better than Devil’s Rejects. But I’m going with 2.5 stars, that’s the rating I henpecked.

    Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

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