THE DEVIL'S REJECTS (Rob Zombie). 101 minutes. Opens Friday (July 22). For venues and times, see Movies, page 80. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Rob Zombie's sequel to House Of 1000 Corpses offers a lot of vivid gore and sadism, but its horror never goes beyond the gross-out level.
His first movie was a stew of steals from Lucio Fulci (House By The Cemetery), Brazil's Coffin Joe movies, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and a dozen others. Here he mixes elements of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Bonnie And Clyde to produce an unusual storyline: after the cops raid their lair, the cannibal necrophile psycho redneck family goes on the run in rural Texas, pursued by a vengeance-obsessed sheriff.
This unique plotline is a plus, and Zombie has improved as a director. His gross-outs work well, and the film's lively and occasionally funny. Sid Haig as the lead psycho and William Forsythe as the sheriff serve up some scenery-chewing fun.
But Zombie fails to generate the sympathy he so obviously wants for his psychos. They're moronic, vicious hicks with no charisma, motivation or mythic dimension, and his sheriff is equally flat. So we stay uninvolved, which renders the finale ridiculous and keeps the horror on the surface.
Nothing here cuts to the bone.