Some of this looks cool enough, but most of it's just silly satanic mumbo jumbo that's not particularly scary.
Chris Nashawaty - Entertainment Weekly
Considerable care goes into establishing the premise, but the film eventually abandons psychological subtlety for hallucinatory garishness, which is too bad.
Neil Genzlinger - New York Times
A portrait of vengeful occult torment that pushes hard to redefine the meaning of "witch trials."
Tom Russo - Boston Globe
The movie is eerily photographed, but never suspenseful or scary, and eventually, events descend into goat-sacrificing silliness.
Chuck Wilson - Village Voice
Atmosphere is three-fourths of the game in a horror film, and "The Lords of Salem" has it in spades.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
Instead of retreating into his manic, hyper-allusive style of psychedelic, grindhouse-friendly pastiche, Zombie tested his considerable skills and made something different.
Simon Abrams - Chicago Sun-Times
Polished and calculated, this is a nerve-shattering fright fest bolstered by immaculate technique.
Drew Hunt - Chicago Reader
You get the idea that "The Lords of Salem" would be a lot scarier if you could tell what was going on.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
So bad it's hilarious.
Rex Reed - New York Observer
Less inferno than slow burn, Rob Zombie's retro witch thriller The Lords of Salem has plenty of portent but not much payoff.
Rob Nelson - Variety
Movies by Rob Zombie, the goth rocker turned cult filmmaker, aren't for everybody. But he couldn't care less.
V.A. Musetto - New York Post
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.
William Goss - Film.com
Zombie's witches aren't as scary as the credible psychopaths he has portrayed before, but The Lords of Salem contains enough frenzied imagery in its climactic moments to make the spell linger.
Eric Kohn - indieWIRE
Although it eventually descends into silliness, this creepily atmospheric effort delivers some effective scares along the way.
Frank Scheck - Hollywood Reporter
"The Lords of Salem" will make you feel bad. But it's supposed to.
Mark Olsen - Los Angeles Times
Tries desperately to shock and offend, and succeeds only in being brutally boring.
Felix Vasquez Jr. - Cinema Crazed
While not forgetting the cinematic value of a coven of naked witches dancing around a bonfire, Zombie shows that he has matured as a filmmaker.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
Featuring some playfully deranged fantasy and flashback sequences to compliment what is overall sober, superior horror, this budding auteur of the macabre is hitting his groove.
Chris Fyvie - The Skinny
I saw The Lords of Salem....I didn't really like it!
Ross Jones-Morris - HeyUGuys
Rob Zombie's tale of DJs unwittingly waking the dead in modern-day Salem is frighteningly good.
Philip French - Observer [UK]
Zombie loves taking his beloved spouse and turning her into a demonic witch-Madonna while The Velvet Underground drones "All Tomorrow's Parties." As horror it's not horrifying, but as a valentine to creepshow romance it's almost heartwarming
Dave White - Movies.com
Rob Zombie has matured as a filmmaker, as witnessed by this well-structured horror shocker, which plays with both historical events and familiar movie imagery to keep us unnerved even if it's ultimately rather silly.
Rich Cline - Contactmusic.com
"The Lords of Salem" presents an even bigger mess than usual. As the film progresses, you get inklings of a plot here and there, but one never wholly materializes, making for an incoherent and extraordinarily dull affair.
Jeff Beck - Examiner.com
[Rob Zombie] makes good on the promise of being one of America's most distinctive horror directors to securely become one of its best.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
Zombie fails to fully wrestle to the ground any of the movie's themes in an engaging or meaningful way... so its swan-dive into arbitrariness from the second act on is fairly complete.
Brent Simon - Shared Darkness
Caveat emptor, but there are bad-trip rewards aplenty for the Zombie faithful.
Anton Bitel - Little White Lies
Despite being based on the fascinating events of the 1692 Salem witch trials, The Lords of Salem sadly fails to offer anything exciting, thanks to a weak script, lack of scares and dreadful sound quality.
Jennifer Tate - ViewLondon
The Lords Of Salem starts as a magnificent slow-burn satanic thriller, but goes up in flames quicker than a witch in Salem after a horrendous third act.
Matt Donato - We Got This Covered
Having the adorable Dee Wallace teamed with Judy Geeson and Patricia Quinn as the revived coven of witches was great. If the film had been about them, the film might have been good.
Beth Accomando - KPBS.org
Shock rocker turned filmmaker Rob Zombie pits an emotionally fragile radio personality against a coven of undead witches in his fifth feature. The result is genuinely creepy if not jump-out-of-your-seat scary.
Maitland McDonagh - Film Journal International
Witches gone wild, then and now. Zombie plays around with history as to whether or not witches have really existed. A reality rewrite regarding women historically persecuted for rebellious minds of their own, likely to leave especially feminists fuming.
Prairie Miller - WBAI Radio
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.
Ian Buckwalter - The Atlantic
An original take on screen torment, and while Salem contains considerable flaws, its ambition is frequently hypnotizing, attempting to trigger a different kind of disquiet in a genre that could use the challenge.
Brian Orndorf - Blu-ray.com
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.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
It's brave, bold, ambitious..... and not very good.
Austin Kennedy - Film Geek Central
The Lords of Salem suffers far too much for its shortcomings; sadly, the audience suffers even more.
Rob Vaux - Mania.com
Zombie's moody shocker finds the part-time singer still floundering to find his voice as a filmmaker while offering clear-cut evidence that it takes more than a deep love of the horror genre to become a great horror director.
Jason Buchanan - TV Guide's Movie Guide
With its visual wonders and mindbending narrative, The Lords of Salem is unlike anything Rob Zombie has ever done before.
Bill Gibron - Film Racket
Though admirable for moving away from director Rob Zombie's comfort zone by focusing on mood and atmosphere over jump scares and a body count, the viewer walks away feeling the one thing horror should never elicit: indifference.
Zombie proves once again that he understands how many different ways there are to give an audience the creeps.
Noel Murray - AV Club
Dull and incompetent. And I'm not just talking about his wife.
Roger Moore - Movie Nation
Overlook the abysmal acting, unattractive nudity, awful dialogue, laughable effects and diabolical direction, and there are a few memorable shocks and images.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
It's a head trip, to be sure, but it's Zombie's electric, haunted head, so my advice is just sit back and goggle.
Marc Savlov - Austin Chronicle
Where The Lords of Salem excels is in its depiction of art, even seemingly innocuous Production Code cinema, as a vessel for unexpected malevolence.
William Bibbiani - CraveOnline
Rob Zombie, film scholar? I'm convinced. Rob Zombie, filmmaker? Mmmyeah, not so much.
Rafer Guzman - Newsday
If Rob Zombie is going to continue to evolve and pursue original visions moving forward, then he may well become the sort of filmmaker whose work is so important to him...
Drew McWeeny - HitFix
Occasionally potent but mostly risible, this tale of the occult sees Rob Zombie cast a weak spell. Disappointing.
Jamie Graham - Total Film
Even as a coven assembles, the movie forgets to scare.
Joshua Rothkopf - Time Out
It's ambitious but, ultimately, a failure.
Garry McConnachie - Sunday Mail [UK]
This is probably Rob Zombie's best film, though it does often prove that the cinephile writer/director is a gifted tyro. At the same time, as his most formally mannered and tonally tempered film, Zombie's latest also proves his versatility.
Simon Abrams - The Playlist
Rob Zombie understands horror as an aural-visual experience that should gnaw at the nerves, seep into the subconscious, and beget unshakeable nightmares.
Nick Schager - Slant Magazine
...imbued with ambiance.
Staci Layne Wilson - Inside Horror
A decent homage to Dario Argento that's gradually undone by some plainly sloppy storytelling.
Scott Weinberg - FEARnet
A surreal experience that will no doubt polarize, The Lords of Salem feels more like a bad LSD trip than a cohesive horror movie.
Amy Curtis - We Got This Covered
One alluring thing about Zombie is that it's hard to know how much of all this is a put-on. I spent a lot of time squinting at it, which is more fun than being bored.
Eugene Novikov - Film Blather
Zombie has a vision and you assume in his mind it all adds up to something very dark, deep and meaningful, but that meaning been lost in translation and the film comes across as vague and confused.
Henry Northmore - The List
Bug nuts insane. If you're into some weird shit, this is one you can't miss.
Chris Bumbray - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
'The Lords of Salem' could only be recommended as background visuals as your jamming to old school White Zombie.
Brad Miska - Bloody Disgusting