Rob Zombie, who wrote and directed 31, is building up an impressive filmography characterized by foul-mouthed characters, well-composed digital photography, and close-ups of characters struggling for their lives. In 31, he used these techniques and added a boilerplate plot that works even when it seems unlikely.
A Look at the Humanity of the Protagonists and Antagonists
The film’s plot works partly because the innate humanity of both the antagonists and protagonists are explored, albeit in a relatively shallow manner. This is a horror film, after all, with little room to explore the inner workings of the hunted and the hunter – the main focus will be on the survival of the prey when the predators are swinging their axes.
Both the protagonists and antagonists are both humans. But because the antagonists have chosen to be the hunters for many reasons, their humanity has to be suppressed, even buried under the weight of a kill-or-be-killed mentality. The protagonists are also in danger of suppressing their humanity in order to survive.
How did the two groups meet? A group of carnival workers are kidnapped by a group of clowns led by Doomhead who take them into a maze-like place. The hapless carnival workers have to fight their way out of the maze while also being pursued by Doomhead’s men, all with the intent of killing them. The violent gang is under the authority of father Doom and Sister Serpent, aristocratic people who delight in the sight and smell of blood.
During the course of the bloodbath, the audience will be treated to brief glimpses into what makes the protagonists and antagonists who they are. Of course, the groups have their differences but at their core, they are but humans who want to live.
A Film Worth Seeing
If you’re already a fan of Zombie’s works, then you can add 31 to your list of must-see films. Zombie has an abrasive filmmaking style that may not sit well with many mainstream movie fans but it grows on you, so to speak.
He has an intuitive style that can become equally jarring and loud yet unmistakably his style, a fact that continues to draw in his fans to his work, even to rough diamonds like House of 1000 Corpses. His adrenaline-high action scenes coupled with his attention to faces as the characters are killed or being killed has a certain gory appeal to them.
Watch 31 on a Cineplex theater near you and enjoy Zombie’s most impressive film so far. And you can bring along many of your friends because it’s always more fun to scream with them than on your own.