Fourteen years after they last appeared in a movie, the Devil’s Rejects are (rather incredibly) back. Yes, they apparently survived the shootout at the end of “The Devil’s Rejects” and are now back on the big screen. In a special introduction to the film, director Rob Zombie says that he decided to revisit the Firefly family one more time because he loves the characters and felt that they had more of a story to tell. I’ll agree with him on the former, but disagree on the latter. “3 From Hell” mostly dilutes the legacy of his best movie to date.
Beginning ten years after the events chronicled in “The Devil’s Rejects,” Zombie’s latest film starts with newsreel footage explaining how Otis, Baby, and Captain Spaulding survived the shootout at the end of its predecessor and finds each of them in prison, allegedly atoning for their sins. Of course, the Firefly clan isn’t the type of family that will stay in prison forever.
While the new film can’t match “House of 1000 Corpses” in terms of shocking violence, there is still plenty here to satisfy fans of gore. Sadly, though, there isn’t much else here to appreciate. We learn little new information about the characters. While it’s passably interesting to watch the group dynamics between three sociopaths – and see how one of the undeniably crazy group is forced to behave almost normally to keep the others in check — the story does little to advance their legacy or legend. To the extent any part of me wanted to see more of these three before I saw “3 From Hell,” that part of me was sorely disappointed.
Very few directors have been successful in following up a critically-acclaimed movie with a film that is a worthy successor. “3 From Hell” is sadly no exception.