By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) –
On the night before Halloween, five carnies driving in a van stop at a gas station and have a few weird encounters. Then they’re are kidnapped and forced to play a sadistic game called 31, where a murderous clown hunts the carnies down for 12 hours and three very rich people bet on who will survive. If a clown is somehow killed before the 12 hours are up, more clowns are sent in to finish the job. As the night moves on and some clowns begin to fall, the worse and more nightmarish the clowns become in order to kill of the carnies.
Rob Zombie really returns to form in this film after his experimental and divisive Lords of Salem. Zombie is at his best when he wants to just have a story about violence for the sake of violence and bring out the worst in people. 31 does exactly this, we don’t know why the game exists, but it doesn’t really matter because we are just along for the fun murderous ride. 31 is the perfect movie if you’re looking for a fun ride on Halloween instead of going to a costume party; maybe you can scare some trick or treaters when they come to your door while it is on.
Zombie’s usual suspects are all in this film and do a great job as usual hamming it up and making the film that much more fun to watch. However, Richard Brake really shines in this film in the part it seems he was born to play as Doom-Head, the final clown brought in to finish the job. You can tell he is having an absolute blast going insane and almost losing himself in his character. My only problem was I wish we could’ve had more Doom-Head, because he only has a great monologue in the beginning and then comes back for the final 20 minutes. For those 20 minutes, however, Brake truly makes the most of his time and becomes entirely unhinged and it’s a joy to watch.
I am a Rob Zombie fan, so I know what I’m getting into and I’m not going to hold it against the film for using gore or ultra-violence to tell its story. However, I didn’t understand the first clown and I really couldn’t get past it. The first clown sent out to kill was named Sick-Head, and he was a little person dressed up as Hitler and only spoke Spanish, for which the film didn’t use subtitles. I understand that his dialogue probably isn’t pertinent to the story, but I couldn’t get past that fact. All of the other clowns I understood, I just couldn’t get on board with Sick-Head.
Rob Zombies’ 31 is exactly what Zombie’s fans were looking for. It’s violence for the sake of violence, and it’s just a fun 90 minutes of murderous clowns hunting five poor people down. It’s not as good as The Devil’s Rejects or the Halloweens, but I think his fans will enjoy this one more than Lords of Salem.
31 (2016) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every WTF moment.
Do a Shot: every time someone is killed.
Do a Shot: when you find out what is for dinner.
Finish you Drink: for the entertainment factor of Doom-Head.