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Like Prince of Darkness meeting Lynch's nightmares. 4 stars for the atmosphere, 3 for the final output.
on 17 May 2013
I was honestly quite surprised (in a good way) by this movie. I saw some previous titles from Rob Zombie and he never really appealed to me. I always found him to be a kind of grown-up out of control teenager, too derivative of others' filmography and style, although with a sometimes interesting wild style, but nothing more.
So I was admired by his new movie, because it's elegant, it's stylish, it's dark, it manages to convey you a sense of suspension, a nightmarish atmosphere, almost like John Carpenter's masterpiece, "Prince of Darkness" meeting David Lynch's nightmares.
Of course the film is full of references and tributes to other movies (Shining, Carpenter, Melies, etc...) but it seems that Rob Zombie has finally grown up as an adult, and doesn't really need to shock anymore, but to impress in an almost subconscius way.
But, although switching to an apparent opposite approach, the results are quite the same as before: the story is not so rich and complex, exactly like in his previous movies: here, more than before, there are certainly some great ideas, but they never come together and make a point so you can really enter the world Rob has been so "charmingly" painted before your eyes.
What's missing to be a masterpiece is that you sense that something's gong on, but you're expectations are just met at the end, in a kind of bizarre and, to me, unresolved way: too easily reduce to a kind of dance of death, with not such a deep or dense meaning (the plot is basically about a not feeling good woman who gets caught by witches for a satanic sacrifice).
You're just admiring a string of beautiful scenes, but you' re almost not welcome to touch it and be part of it. So eventually, after so many expectations, you get let down by the movie.
I'm not saying that the ending is not visually "charming", but it leaves you cold: it doesn't develop all the pieces of the puzzle, that don't come alive, they just stay clichès.
Had it been a little more like David Lynch, where you maybe don't understand everything, but you feel the nightmare,the mystery, the depth and the mastermind behind what you see, it would have been a masterpiece.
Instead it's just a brilliant and very fine (maybe too much, and this is the main surprise to me) example of cinematographic talent, who lacks of heart.
Because, at the end of the day, what's the sense in disturbing me during the film and not at the end of it?
But still this is a big leap forward for him and I'm confident his next movie will be, eventually, his masterpiece.