I can't so much talk about this film as mumbled garbled words in a loud, angry manner. From the moment I pressed play to the moment it was over I cycled between maybe this will be good to oh nope. When the end finally came around I threw my hands in the air, looking confused and abruptly going “what?” It’s one of those films that has so much potential yet delivers nothing.
Rob Zombie's latest effort, Lords of Salem, is a movie about Satan worshipping witches in Salem. Yes, the Salem of the infamous witch trials of history. It revolves around Sheri Moon Zombie's character Heidi LaRoq, a radio personality, and her descent into satanic induced madness. All of this is triggered by a mysterious box containing a record given to Heidi by the "Lords" and is tied to movies version of the historical Salem witches.
Then we come to Jeff Daniel Phillips playing Herman Salvador, affectionately referred to as Whitey. Phillips was a stand out. He delivered the best performance of the film and created the only real character, you become emotionally attached to. This isn't to say that the other actors weren't good or at least proficient; I'll get to that later. Phillips created a believable individual within the movie and that’s talent, especially in horror movies.
Lastly, the design of Heidi's apartment is great. Not just the inside of her apartment, but the hallway outside, and the stairway and landing by the entrance of the building. Whether this was an actual building or set, or a combination of both but it was beautiful.
And this is where is goes from good to aggravating.
Even though the set design was great in Heidi’s apartment, but unfortunately it wasn't all good. The movie gets towards the end and all of a sudden the scenes come across less of a movie and more of a music video for a wannabe satanic metal act. Rather than a side effect of budget, it iss more like no one cared how it looked. Hopefully that’s the point but it is one thing for me that can damage my opinion of a movie that is otherwise good and that is poor design, be it a set or a costume (like the demon in Insidious.)
Also, when creating characters that are integral to the story, maybe we want a little more put into them. The three modern day witches that show up a quarter the way into the story are not fleshed out. Who are they? What's their story? I mean, yes, I know their role within the context of the film but I also knew the role Heidi played without having it fleshed out, and obviously they are just as important to the tale as Heidi so please give me something.
Lords of Salem is a dud. I came in with excitement and anticipation because of Rob Zombie. House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects were phenomenal and his Halloween films were well done, though I don't much care for remakes. With that in mind, I had high hopes for Lords of Salem. Rob Zombie is good with his own original ideas, or so I thought. The movie feels like a freshman effort. It’s heavily flawed. I don't want to say that it’s a waste of an hour and forty minutes, but its pretty close. The next time Zombie debuts a film, I will be far more hesitant and my expectations will be much lower.
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