From the visionary mind of the man who brought us House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil's Rejects and Halloween comes the horrific story of five carnival workers who are kidnapped the night before Halloween and held hostage in a large compound. At the mercy of their captors, they are forced to play a twisted game or life or death called 31. For the next 12 hours they must fight for their lives against an endless parade of homicidal maniacs.
Rob Zombie sure has a style and a genre he sticks to. The heavy metal musician and horror filmmaker entered the film scene back in the early 2000s with 'House of 1000 Corpses', which no matter what you feel about that movie, it has original style and instant cult characters that are still loved by all today. That filmed really paved the way for his style and film career as someone new to the horror genre who knew what they were doing. Zombie even successfully made a second film that was even better than his first effort with a different style in 'The Devil's Rejects', which received rave reviews and cemented Zombie in the annals of horror cinema forever.
With two remakes of 'Halloween' under his belt and his ode to 'The Shining', titled 'Lords of Salem', which was very good story wise and stylistically. After making the slow-burn psychological horror film, 'Lords of Salem', Zombie got an idea for '31', which is just an insane gore-fest with murderous clowns. The setup with '31' is great and is a mix of 'Saw' and 'The Purge', but with that famous Rob Zombie gore and editing choices. The film was shot in 20 short days and it certainly shows up on film with some weird edits, character arcs that don't pan out well, with some silly story plots. That doesn't stop the movie from being fun and entertaining for those who love the horror and gore genre.
A ton of Zombie regulars show up here, including his wife Sheri Moon Zombie as one of the few carnies on the road who are kidnapped and forced into a 'Saw' like game in a locked up warehouse, where they have to survive twelve hours of different clowns with weapons who stalk, torture, and kill them. Who set this all up? Why, some rich old white people who are dressed in Victorian costumes who place bets with one another on who will survive the twelve hours. The film boarders on the silly aspect at times with the certain clowns, whom are known as heads. There is a nazi small person clown, twin clowns with chainsaws, sexual clowns, and one clown that looks and acts like The Joker.
Zombie pretty much filmed the entire film on location at real places he scouted, which gave the film some great depth and scope on a large scale. There isn't really a point to the film other than to just provide some fun and entertaining scenes with blood and guts, along with some sick laughs. Sheri Moon Zombie does a good job of becoming the heroine she is while the head crazy clown known as Doom Head (Richard Brake from 'Game of Thrones') is insanely good. He is someone you wouldn't want to cross paths with. The usual camera filters and lighting rigs used to make the film look a little more like a 1970's grindhouse film are present throughout.
I don't think '31' (Halloween Oct. 31) will be your goto horror movie to watch every week, but once a year around the Halloween time or if you want to scare your friends who are deathly afraid of clowns, this is the movie to watch. The film certainly feels rushed, but hey, it gets to the point of blood, chainsaws, and decapitations very quick, which is Zombie's area of expertise.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'31' comes with a 50GB Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate that is Region A Locked. There is an insert for a digital download code included. The disc is housed in an eco-friendly hard, blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. There are six movie trailers that play before menu start up.
'31' comes with a 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The image looks excellent throughout. There is a nice layer of grain that never fluctuates and gives the film that 1970's grindhouse feel and not the digital 2016 look. Detail is still sharp and vivid in both the exterior bright scenes as well as in the dark underground warehouse maze. All of the clown makeup that is caked on the actor's faces looks amazing as well as all the practical effects of guts and blood show all of their gory details well.
Individual hairs, sweat, wrinkles, and freckles can be seen easily too. Colors pop off screen when the scene is bright, especially the red blood. The scenes during the day time have a warm tint to it as if we were in that old 1970's era of filmmaking. The darker lit scenes are bathed in blue cool light, which looks eerie and good for ambience. Black levels are deep and inky and the skin tones are natural. The first scene is entirely black and white and is mixed and saturated very well. There were no issues with any banding, aliasing, or video noise to speak of, leaving this video presentation with great marks.
This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix and sounds very good. The sound effects of chainsaws, hits, kicks, knives slicing, and bats hitting metal and bone all pack a good punch. Each noise is robust and full, asyou will hear every bone crunch and gore wound drip blood well. Ambient noises of the killer clowns roaming the halls, laughing and taunting sound great in the surrounds as well as the dripping pipes and various screams all over the place.
The music and the score of the film really brings the low end to life here and fully encompasses you into the horrifying situation of these people. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow over all of the screaming and weapons being used and every profanity that is screamed sounds exquisite. There are no pops, cracks, hiss, or shrills to be heard here, leaving this audio presentation with good marks.
Audio Commentary - Rob Zombie delivers a soft spoken commentary where he discusses a ton of technical aspects, casting the roles, the camera tricks that were used, and how he changed the script almost every day to what we see on screen. He's not an enthusiastic guy really, but he gives a lot of good information.
In Hell Everybody Loves Popcorn: The Making of '31' (HD, 132 Mins.) - Yes, this extensive behind the scenes feature is much longer than the actual film itself. This is set up in six chapters or you can play all here, which takes you to a video diary of pre-production and all twenty days of shooting with cast and crew interviews, discussing every scene that was shot, as well as working with all of the blood, gore and other actors. It gets a bit repetitive, but is none-the-less a good extra.
Trailers (12 Mins.) - Other trailers for films from Lionsgate.
'31' is a balls-to-the-wall gore fest that is insane, silly, and over-the-top ridiculous. There are a lot of flaws with this film, but I think Zombie wanted to make a film for his hardcore gore fans and keep the pace and thrills coming at a super fast pace. It's a fun film if you can stomach it, but it's not at the top of Zombie's resume. The video and audio presentations are both great and the commentary and one extra is so extensive, that you get every thing you'd want for special features here. '31' is for the veteran horror, gore, and Rob Zombie fans only.