Subtlety and beauty aren't exactly two words associated with the works of musician-director Rob Zombie, whose films are often soaked in so much ugliness and brutal violence that they're hard to stomach, even in their most insanely surreal moments. The Lords of Salem, though, is a different direction for the auteur, and a more assured one. Taking a cue from Ti West (House of the Devil) and Roman Polanski, Zombie opts for a slow-burner in telling the tale of Heidi (wife and muse Sheri Moon), a DJ in the titular Massachusetts town. Heidi receives a trance-inducing record in the mail that sets off an increasingly surrealist nightmare in which the ancestors of a witch massacre manifest themselves in the present day. Zombie's film largely ditches his trademark shaky-cam chaos in favor of gorgeous, symmetrically composed shots to create a genuine sense of unease, but lest you forget that you're watching a film by the dude who perpetrated House of 1,000 Corpses, Lords of Salem steadily climbs into a psychedelic nightmare. For once, though, the payoff is an earned nosedive into insanity after an hour of steady buildup.
- Running Time:
- Release Date: Tuesday, April 16, 2013
- MPAA Rating: R
- Critic's Score: B
- Watch the trailer