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31 (2016)

There is no denying that Rob Zombie truly shines as a director and his sound design is always on point. '31' is no different. Visually, this film looks distinguished, featuring some very nice cinematography and shooting angles. Although, there are a few moments that incorporate some fast-paced editing - something I found to be quite jarring and does make it difficult to determine what is playing out on screen at times. However, as a whole this film does look and sound great, tonally perfectly represents the claustrophobic direction of the plot. Richard Drayfus plays a pivotal role in this film and is someone who I find to be a very underrated actor, and his opening monologue puts that on display perfectly here. Whilst not only setting the film off in a terrifying tone, these opening minutes also provide ample amounts of exposition for the audience. Unfortunately, his lack of screen time after this opening introduction was immediately noticed. With the exception of Drayfus, Meg Foster and Jeff Daniel Phillips, everyone else here is an abomination. Their line delivery is so unconvincing it was quite frankly very difficult to watch. The dialogue in this film is by far the worst I have seen come from a Rob Zombie film. I say that, taking into consideration the preconceived reputation he has as a writer - especially given the direction he decided to take the younger years of fan favourite Michael Myers. Every other sentence (especially in the earlier scenes) is some form of sexual innuendo, using some extremely graphic vulgar language. I'm not a prude, and by no means am offended by the use of foul language, but here it just felt so unnecessary and done with the intention of offending. Once again Rob zombie lets himself down with his writing, not only with his dialogue but the overall direction this film takes. As a concept, it’s an interesting idea, however in execution this feels like the most amateur production of his to date. The side arc featuring Malcolm McDowell and his Victorian era style hierarchy betting club is ridiculous and so off tone. Bouncing back and forth between the two plot developments was a vital mistake for the overall experience of this film. The mystery element behind it would have made for a much stronger story. There is a reason I have avoided this film since its release in 2016. From the moment I watched the first trailer, I knew this wasn't going to be for me. This is by far the worst movie in Rob Zombie's repertoire and, as someone who is a big fan of his work, it comes as a disappointment for me to have to say that about a director and an artist I have a lot of admiration for. I will likely never revisit this film again and if like me you have managed to avoid '31' up until this point, I recommend continuing down that path of ignorant bliss.


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