Polished and calculated, this is a nerve-shattering fright fest bolstered by immaculate technique.
It's a credit to Zombie's interest in growing as an artist that he's drawing from more mature inspirations here, but it's also part of why the movie doesn't work.
| Original Score: 4.5/10
It's all meant to be monstrous, unspeakable, blasphemous horror but it comes across more like a slightly dirty drawing, passed in seventh-grade religion class.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
Movies by Rob Zombie, the goth rocker turned cult filmmaker, aren't for everybody. But he couldn't care less.
| Original Score: 3/4
Considerable care goes into establishing the premise, but the film eventually abandons psychological subtlety for hallucinatory garishness, which is too bad.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
"The Lords of Salem" will make you feel bad. But it's supposed to.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
Rob Zombie, film scholar? I'm convinced. Rob Zombie, filmmaker? Mmmyeah, not so much.
| Original Score: 0.5/4
A more restrained kind of grungy horror throwback than the rocker-turned-filmmaker has offered to date, at least marking a step in a different direction, if not necessarily the right one.
Atmosphere is three-fourths of the game in a horror film, and "The Lords of Salem" has it in spades.
| Original Score: 3/5
A portrait of vengeful occult torment that pushes hard to redefine the meaning of "witch trials."
| Original Score: 2/4
Although it eventually descends into silliness, this creepily atmospheric effort delivers some effective scares along the way.
You get the idea that "The Lords of Salem" would be a lot scarier if you could tell what was going on.
| Original Score: 2/5
Zombie proves once again that he understands how many different ways there are to give an audience the creeps.
| Original Score: B
Instead of retreating into his manic, hyper-allusive style of psychedelic, grindhouse-friendly pastiche, Zombie tested his considerable skills and made something different.
Some of this looks cool enough, but most of it's just silly satanic mumbo jumbo that's not particularly scary.
| Original Score: C-
So bad it's hilarious.
| Original Score: 1/4
Even as a coven assembles, the movie forgets to scare.
The movie is eerily photographed, but never suspenseful or scary, and eventually, events descend into goat-sacrificing silliness.
Less inferno than slow burn, Rob Zombie's retro witch thriller The Lords of Salem has plenty of portent but not much payoff.