I’ve seen many horror films come and go through my years of watching them and over the last almost 10 years I have come to like the movies of one Rob Zombie. In case if you don’t know who Rob Zombie is, he is the front man of the group White Zombie and now is a celebrated film maker in the horror/shock genre.
His films include two Halloween remakes, Devil Rejects and House of 1000 Corpses. All of those I have come to like over the years, his best I think being The Devil Rejects. We now have his latest foray into the mix, The Lords of Salem. I won’t mince words about this one. It sucked. Probably one of the worst I’ve seen in a while. This has been flagged as Zombie’s swan song as he will not be doing horror anymore, to most fans, because of this film is a good thing.
Sheri Moon Zombie, Rob Zombie’s wife, who appears in all of his films, stars as Heidi Hawthorne, a radio DJ who is enjoying life and having a successful career on the radio. A record is left for her at the station one night from a group called The Lords. She takes it home and gives it a listen and decides to make it part of their radio show Smash or Trash.
The content on the record is played for all over the air waves as to be sending out a calling. The main focus of the movie is about the Witches of Salem and about what happened to them during the Salem Witch Trials of the late 1600’s. The music on the records seems to be calling these spirits back to the land of the living to bring the devil into the world through Heidi.
The cast I do have to say is good through out the movie. The acting is believable and we see from great performances from Bruce Davison and Sheri Moon Zombie. Horror fans will be happy to see Dee Wallace in there as well. Jeffrey Daniel Phillips as Whitey, Heidi’s friend and co-worker at the station does a great job as the concerned friend as Heidi’s life starts to spiral out of control.
Director Rob Zombie decided to slow things down and shoot this as a relatively straight picture, meaning that there isn’t any high octane action scenes, no fast cut editing, slow methodical camera movements. At the beginning this starts to work, though as the movie progresses it becomes a tired mess and makes the hour and a half movie seem to drag on and on. Not a lot really happens in the movie until the last 20 or so minutes and then you are bombarded with very bizarre images and scenes, a lot of which don’t really make any sense. I think the movie could have been good if he stuck to his normal style which worked for him, this movie however just falls flat.
Don’t get me wrong Zombie does have a wonderful eye for shot composition and camera work, but the sluggish pace of Salem just makes it feel like a chore to get to the end of the movie, which really doesn’t have a big pay off for all the tension this slow burn of a film is trying to build to. A lot of the mystery of the story can be easily solved while watching it and the twists that should have been big are easily seen coming a mile a way.
This was a movie I was anxiously awaiting to see and was thoroughly disappointed when it finally arrived. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, I can not recommend this movie, but ultimately you the movie goer are the ultimate judge of what you like or dislike. If it is a movie you have been waiting or dying to see then give it a whirl. It is a movie that started out to have so much potential but falls flat quickly.
Overall I give this movie 1 star out of 5. I would have given it a 0 but the acting was decent enough to warrant 1 star. Every director makes a bad movie here and there, it’s just sad that this director’s worst film comes in the genre he is best known for. ‘Till next time my friends.