The following review was written by Ultimate Rabbit correspondent Tony Farinella.
After watching “3 From Hell,” I’m going to go out on a limb and say it is Rob Zombie’s best film with “The Devil’s Rejects” being right behind it. This might be an unpopular opinion, and I might be in the minority on this, but this is one hell of a movie, pun intended. Even though the late Sid Haig is hardly in the movie because of his health issues at the time, it is an incredible ride from start-to-finish. There is never a dull moment in this movie. This is the kind of balls-to-the-wall and in-your-face horror film which is missing from today’s cinemas. It is a shame the film did not get a wider release as there is a lot to like here.
“3 From Hell” picks up right where “The Devil’s Rejects” left off, and it shows the aftermath of the big finale. Someway, somehow, Baby Firefly (Sheri Moon Zombie), Otis Driftwood (Bill Moseley) and Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig) have survived their shootout with the police. However, they are in prison, which makes it quite difficult to unleash their unique brand of mayhem and chaos onto unsuspecting victims. Baby Firefly is still completely crazy and has little interest in trying to get out of prison. She’s quite proud of what she has done behind bars and of how she has survived. As a matter of fact, the three of them have quite a fan base now because of the news.
Otis Driftwood is able to escape out of prison thanks to the help of his half-brother Winslow Foxworth Coltrane (Richard Brake) who is new to this series of films. However, he has worked with Rob Zombie in the past on “31” and “Halloween II.” Even though he is no Captain Spaulding, he does a really good job of being a believable brother to Otis and a terrifying force. Now that Otis and his brother are running around free, they need to find a way to reunite with Baby Firefly. Without her, they are just not complete. They write off Captain Spaulding as dying from lethal injection, which explains why he is not part of their team anymore. Once the “3 From Hell” gang are back together again, things really get taken up a notch. Sometimes their victims just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The violence is unrelenting, brutal and completely raw, and this is a compliment to the highest degree in a horror film.
It is rare to see films like this made today, as I mentioned earlier. This film is not politically correct, and it is not afraid to truly go for it without thinking twice or blinking. This is the unrated cut of the film, and it certainly holds nothing back with the violence or the nudity as well. There is not a single moment in this film which is boring, lackluster or wasteful. Rob Zombie takes a patient approach, but there is always something happening on screen that is capturing our attention as an audience. At times, it plays like a horror western with some of the showdowns. It’s also incredibly entertaining.
When “3 From Hell” was over, I had a huge smile on my face. I realized I had witnessed something special and something which doesn’t find its way to your local theater with the proper marketing. This is why it was given a special release through Fathom Events. A lot of people have complained about the film being a rehash of “The Devil’s Rejects,” but quite frankly I don’t see it. With Rob Zombie, he doesn’t make films where things are black and white. At times, innocent people die on screen. We find ourselves rooting for evil people who are doing evil things. It is because they are entertaining, funny and totally unlike anything else in a horror movie.
Rob Zombie is a true horror fan, and it shows in the way the film was shot. It had that grindhouse feel to it. I loved the look of the film, and I especially loved the performances in the film. At times, I felt like Sheri Moon Zombie was stealing the show with her antics on screen. In other moments, I enjoyed the easy-going yet incredibly scary performance by Bill Moseley. Richard Brake is just as off the wall as well with his performance. If I had to pick one performance that really stood out, it would have to be Sheri Moon Zombie, though. Granted, she is given a lot to work with on screen, but she’s more than up to the task of handling it all with relative ease. It’s hitting all the right notes. I loved every single second of this flick.
* * * * out of * * * *
Blu-Ray Info: “3 From Hell” is being released on a two-disc Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Combo Pack from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. It comes with both the R-rated and unrated versions of the film, but the unrated version can only be viewed on the Blu-Ray. The film has a running time of 115 minutes. For the rated version, it is rated R for strong sadistic violence, language throughout, sexual content and drug use.
Audio Info: The English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track is out of this world! It is exactly what I wanted out of this film. It truly adds to the screams of terror when the violence is happening on screen. It’s great during the scenes which feature some great songs as well. There are also subtitles in English and Spanish.
Video Info: The film looks outstanding on a 1080p High Definition 16×9 (1.85:1) presentation. It is able to have an old-school grindhouse look to it, as I mentioned in my review, without sacrificing the picture quality which is sharp and top-notch.
Audio Commentary with Rob Zombie: If you have ever heard an interview with Rob Zombie, you know what an intelligent and thoughtful filmmaker and individual he is. He takes you through the entire filmmaking process and is never boring. This is a commentary track which I highly recommend you listen to after watching the film on its own.
To Hell and Back: The Making of 3 From Hell (4-Part Documentary) (01:34:00): This is almost as long as the film itself! This is the kind of special feature I wish more filmmakers would add to Blu-rays. It shows on-set footage, behind-the-scenes interviews, and tons of knowledge on anything and everything you would ever want to know about this movie. This is a top notch, A+ special feature. I’m really glad they took the time to show us how this movie came together. Rob Zombie is as laid back as they come and very open to ideas from his actors. Even though he is the writer/director, he only puts his foot down when it comes to notes from the studio trying to change his vision or tell him what to do on his films.
Should You Buy It?
HELL YES!!! As soon as you have finished reading this review, you owe it to yourself to buy this movie as soon as possible. This is my favorite horror movie of 2019, and it is one of the best horror movies I’ve seen in probably a decade. Now don’t get me wrong: I love what Jordan Peele is doing with films like “Get Out” and “Us”. However, this is, as director Kevin Smith called it, “Horror Heaven.” If you like your horror films bloody, twisted, funny, unhinged, crazy and totally unfiltered, this is the movie for you. The audio and the visuals are top notch as well as the special features. Lionsgate did a tremendous job with this Blu-ray release, and I can’t recommend it enough!