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The Devil's Rejects (2005)
Rated R

Starring: Bill Moseley, William Forsythe, and Sheri Moon Zombie

Rating:
**1/2
out of
*****

In 2003, House of 1000 Corpses, Rob Zombie's homage to drugged-out 1970s horror movies, was released to theaters. Meeting a mixture of misunderstanding and plain old bad reviews, the movie didn't set the box office on fire but it did make enough money to warrant a sequel. 2005's The Devil's Rejects is that sequel -- of sorts. It takes the whole Dr. Satan subplot out of the mix and concentrates on the sadistic nature of its namesake: a family of brutal killers who find entertainment in the deaths of others.

The Devil's Rejects picks up a few months after the events of the first movie. Sheriff Wydell (William Forsythe) has discovered that his brother, Lieutenant George Wydell (Tom Towles) was killed in the line of duty by Mother Firefly (Leslie Easterbrook) and her sicko children, Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie), Otis (Bill Moseley) and Rufus. Swearing to avenge his death, the Sheriff attempts to catch the killers off guard by leading a direct assault on their farmhouse of horrors. In the ensuing shoot-out, Rufus is killed and Mother Firefly is captured. Baby and Otis escape and hit the road to avoid the law. Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), their father and secret partner in crime, is called and agrees to meet up with them at a motel outside of town. Once there, Baby and Otis take some musicians prisoner and, of course, end up sadistically playing with them before they have to confront Sheriff Wydell. Wydell, it turns out, believes he is working directly for God and will stop at nothing, including breaking the law he's supposed to uphold, to bring down his brother's killers.

Technically, The Devil's Rejects is head-and-shoulders above House of 1000 Corpses. Rob Zombie's toned down his use of bizarre slow motion and strange intercut scene sequences. He hasn't completely eliminated them but they're used more effectively and there are a few geniunely inventive scenes to be found here. Unfortunately, though, the plot is lacking any type of direction. I suppose I am misguided looking for true motivation in a movie that generates all of its energy from the violence it so happily puts on display. Still, I wanted to like The Devil's Rejects because technically it is a much better movie than its predecessor. Plotwise, it's a major disappointment. The film's switch from a true gross-out horror film to a gross-out crime story might also upset fans of the original film.

I suppose if you saw this movie with no idea from whence it spawned, you might enjoy its bizarre sense of humor and downright campy qualities but those expecting an improvement on the original will be completely let down.

Trivia: The film originally had a subplot involving scenes with Dr. Satan. In an interview, Rob Zombie said that he cut these scenes because seeing Dr. Satan in this film would be like seeing Chewbacca in Bonnie and Clyde. Zombie then went on to explain that all the Dr. Satan scenes would be restored in the "deleted scenes" section of the the DVD. (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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