Beware the lords of spoilers.
Writer/Director Rob Zombie spins a creepy and suspenseful yarn that evokes The Exorcist meets Rosemary’s Baby with a hint of The Crucible, but with more monsters.
The film stars Sheri Moon Zombie as Heidi Hawthorne, a local radio D.J. in Salem, Massachusetts. The movie begins building tension from the opening shot as demonic imagery gives way to a satanic ritual from the past. To try and describe the acts being performed onscreen would not do them justice. The poetry of Mr. Zombie’s screenplay draws us in and the imagery keeps us repulsed and enthralled all at the same time.
The movie plays like a classic nineteen-seventies suspense thriller and doesn’t succumb to cheap jumps scares but rather lets the tension and psychological torment reach a boiling point until the audience has to question it’s own sanity.
Sheri Moon gives a pitch perfect performance as a recovering addict battling both demonic forces and relapse. The horror begins in such a subtle fashion that the main characters are left to wonder if the misery in their lives is either manifest or the machinations of some diabolical force. A seemingly harmless record is left at the radio station addressed to Heidi from “The Lords” and contains music of such an eerie and unnerving quality, when Heidi listens to it flashbacks of evil emerge in her mind. When she plays it on the radio the women of Salem become mesmerized as though receiving instructions from an otherworldly force.
As the week progresses Heidi’s nightmares and hallucinations become worse until she falls back into her addiction to cope. All the while Heidi’s landlady and her two sisters seem to be working to help Heidi overcome her troubles but do the three women who live downstairs have Heidi’s best interests at heart or do they serve a force beyond understanding?
Running parallel to this is the story of occult expert Francis Mathias and his investigation into The Lords of Salem. To tell you how this plays out would spoil to much but an intricate mystery is weaved involving the Salem witch trials, a curse placed on the town and the dark secrets that must be avenged.
If you are a fan of Rob Zombie, horror movies and creepy/suspenseful art then go out and buy a copy of The Lords of Salem. This is Mr. Zombies best film work to date.