The Lords of Salem movie poster
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The Lords of Salem
The Lords of Salem movie poster

The Lords of Salem Movie Review

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Indie horror once again gets the Rob Zombie treatment, four years after the director effectively destroyed his mainstream career, and a revered franchise, with the atrociously atrocious Halloween II. In The Lords of Salem, wife Sheri Moon Zombie stars as a drug-addicted radio DJ who may also be a witch. Or the mother of Satan. Or Satan. Something along those lines.

The first Halloween aside - a remake I enjoyed for a variety of reasons - Zombie's films have been ultraviolent, frenetic and inconsistent, passion projects for him that don't necessarily align with what audiences want. The Lords of Salem, on the other hand, serves as Rob Zombie's most complete film to date. While far from perfect, the movie is an intriguing exploration into darkness.

I'm not a huge fan of indie horror, or at least the retro, offbeat mood thrillers that try too hard to hearken back to horror movies of old, but The Lords of Salem manages to capture a similar vibe without being... boring.

Unlike some of Zombie's other efforts, the director keeps most of  the craziness for the final act, and even then the mayhem - which involves weird demon creatures and metaphorical images of Jesus - is more controlled and deliberate. The movie feels like a fully realized story rather than a series of twisted machinations thrown together. It still doesn't make a lot of sense at times, but oh well.

The Lords of Salem's biggest weakness, unfortunately, is its star, who seems unprepared to lead a film or play a character who transforms so significantly over the course of 90 minutes. The Lords of Salem is a good movie, but it required an actress who could deliver a nuanced, disturbing and explosive performance; Sheri Moon Zombie's delivery is one-note and one-dimensional.

Despite Sheri Moon's limitations, The Lords of Salem is still an intriguing tale of witchcraft, demons and horror. The movie isn't for everyone, but if you're looking for something dark, twisted and a little different than typical horror fare, The Lords of Salem have an offer for you.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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