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Review: Rob Zombie’s ‘3 From Hell’ is a Big Treat for Fans of the Series

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Review: Rob Zombie's '3 From Hell' is a Big Treat for Fans of the Series

2005’s The Devil’s Rejects was such a surprisingly strong sequel that making a third seems completely unnecessary. It ended on a perfect and complete note with the last of the three Firefly family members driving into a hail of gunfire. Any chance of survival seemed impossible. In fact at the start of 3 From Hell the odds are said to be one in a million.

Well all three end recovering from their numerous bullet wounds anyway and the exact reasons why are left to the viewer’s imagination. In the first five minutes we’re already forced to suspend our disbelief quite a bit. Luckily it is such a joy to have these characters back on-screen that an explanation isn’t really needed.

Otis and Baby are joined by a third companion, The Midnight Wolfman played by Richard Brake. He serves a surrogate role for the late, great Sig Haig, who was too ill at the time to act as a lead. Haig has a small amount of screen time, allowing us to say goodnight to Captain Spaulding.

3 From Hell Otis Foxy

The road trip, action and western influences of the last film are ramped up to the point where there really isn’t much horror at all. Several beats are also repeated but with far less tension this time.

There is plenty of violence as the Fireflies go on the road, leaving trails of carnage. However, it doesn’t have the visceral impact of House of 1000 Corpses or The Devil’s Rejects. This is partly due to the polished production which lacks grittiness. When Otis bludgeons a man to death in the last film it is deeply disturbing thanks to Rob Zombie’s jarring sound design choices. When he does the same thing in 3 From Hell we just hear a standard Hollywood wet crunch sound effect. It is less impactful and makes Otis seem less threatening as a result.

It is clear that Rob Zombie struggled after being forced to change the entire story in the wake of Sid Haig’s poor health. There are plenty of flaws in this movie, which seem even worse when comparing it to the last one. However, the film is also a big treat for fans of the series and Rob Zombie in general.

3 From Hell Sheri Moon Zombie Dee Wallace

Despite the triumphant ending it feels very bittersweet. There is a moment where Otis and Baby are discussing whether it is worth going on and how weird it feels being the last of their clan. During the last 14 years we have lost numerous cast members from the first films.

It is easy to imagine Rob Zombie writing that Otis and Baby exchange while he himself was contemplating the merits of making a third instalment. It certainly gives Bill Moseley and Sheri Moon Zombie the chance to resurrect their fun and charismatic characters again. The other cast members also do a brilliant job, especially Dee Wallace.

The biggest issue is the narrative. If viewers want to ride on an aimless but enjoyable trip with Otis, Baby and the Midnight Wolfman then they’ll probably be satisfied. Just don’t expect anything new.

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