31 Blu-ray Review
“31” is a largely forgettable Rob Zombie horror film.
The 1976 Halloween set film “31” involves a group of 5 carnival workers that have been abducted and taken to a large building. While there, they encounter 3 wealthy people dressed as aristocrats who inform them that they will be playing a survival game called 31 for 12 hours. In this gave, the contestants are forced to navigate a labyrinth essentially where they must face and survive 6 killers dubbed Sick-Head, Psycho-Head, Schizo-Head, Death-Head, Sex-Head and Doom-Head. Will anyone make it out alive?
Writer/director Rob Zombie’s last film “The Lords of Salem” may have received mixed reviews, but to me, it was a step up for the director. Not only was it his most visually appealing film, but it felt more mature and complex than his previous work. With “31,” Zombie seems to take a step backward as he returns to his familiar grimey, gory ways.
While the film holds your interest (if you can stomach this type of film that is), there’s nothing really surprising here. The plot is basically a cross between “The Running Man,” “The Most Dangerous Game” and the little seen “Slashers,” the language is typically filthy, Sheri Moon Zombie is the star, there’s an open ended ending, etc. In other words, if you’ve seen a Rob Zombie movie, you know what to expect here.
It’s a shame the film feels like a generic Rob Zombie because there’s a lot of potential with the premise. Unfortunately, the premise is never fully taken advantage of. Granted, the budget limitations and limited locations put a damper on the creativity, but it would have been nice to see Zombie do something a little different. Hopefully Zombie will be able to step outside of the horror genre in the near future with the rumored Groucho Marx biopic.
The one aspect that does stand-out here is the painted face Doom-Head played by British actor Richard Brake. The character is a truly sick, demented, and intimidating killer whose chilling speeches prove to be the most memorable moments of the entire film.
Presentation: 2.40:1 1080p. How does it look? While intentional and effective, the grainy 70’s style doesn’t exactly wow you even on hi-def. Sure, it’s a solid transfer for what it is, but don’t expect this to be a demo disc for picture quality.
Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The dialogue, score, and sound f/x sound sharp here.
* Digital copy.
* Lionsgate trailers.
* “In Hell Everybody Loves Popcorn: The Making Of 31”- A massive 5 part 2 hour and 11 minute making of documentary that covers the pre-production process (including location scouting and costume design) and the day by day production for the 20 day shoot. This is a really comprehensive extra that contains a ton of behind-the-scenes footage and cast and crew interviews.
* A not so exciting but informative solo commentary by Rob Zombie.
Overall Thoughts: “31” isn’t likely to be a cult classic on the level of “The Devil’s Rejects,” but horror fans, gorehounds, and Zombie’s fanbase may find something of value here.
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