The Lords of Salem Review
The Lords Are Here...They've Always Been Here
Shock rocker turn writer and director, Rob Zombie, unleashes his latest glimpse into the mind of a mad man with The Lords of Salem. Much different from anything we've seen from Rob Zombie to date, Lords is a cerebral horror film that with stick in your mind long after your initial viewing.
The film follows Heidi (Sherri Moon Zombie), a young DJ, who unknowingly unleashes a coven of witches upon modern day Salem. These aren't your pretty witches from modern horror tales. These are the frightening witches you were always worried would kidnap you as a child and cook you in a pot. These witches are ugly, dirty, and scary. As you story unfolds, we watch as Heidi slowly falls under the spell of these witches. Sherri Moon Zombie gives her best performance to date in the role and captivates you every time she is on the screen.
The rest of the films cast is a who's-who of Zombie and horror veterans. Given the film doesn't carry any major stars, it makes it easy to slip into the world of the film and go for the journey. Much of the film is a very surrealistic dream-like environment. Many times you will be unaware if what you are seeing is real or not, the same can be said for the characters in the film as well. Frightening images of masked men walking through the park or sickly witches appearing from the shadows will haunt your senses.
Where the film truly shines is in its cinematography. This is the most beautiful film Rob Zombie has released. Everything is a gritty tint to it that Zombie has made his trademark, but it's done in a slick delivery. A lot of what you'll see in this film will make you want to look away, but with how beautiful it is all presented, you'll find it difficult to actually remove your eyes from each frame. The sets and locations also enhance the production of the film. It will at times shift from feeling like a low budget indie film to a big budget showcase. The grand hall we see Heidi move through when facing her demons is one of the most luxurious sets you're likely to see in a horror film.
The Lords of Salem reminded of another witchy horror film, Suspiria. Dario Argento's masterpiece also delivered some of the best cinematography ever in the genre. Being that both films are about witches, it's hard not imagine that Rob Zombie didn't draw at least a little inspiration from that film. The music for The Lords of Salem really stood out. Rob Zombie's guitarist, John 5, did much of the original music for the film and it has a creepy and uncomfortable feel to it. Having a chilling score is just another similarity that The Lords of Salem shares with Suspiria.
If you are a Rob Zombie fan, odds are you are going to seek this film out. It's nothing like what we are used to from him, but yet feels familiar. I feel if there was no director card, you could still guess Rob Zombie directed this film. The average moviegoer may be a bit taken aback by the heavy use of the term "Satan," but it all done well within the context of the film. And I'm sure if you are not a fan of Rob Zombie's work, then this film may not be for you.
My recommendation is to go see the movie. You may be pleasantly surprised that something fresh and original is still out there in the horror genre. The Lords of Salem with effect you; it's to just to what degree that will determine if that's a good or bad thing.