Sunday, August 03, 2008

Jack Brooks, Monster Slayer

I was recently given the opportunity to review Anchor Bay Entertainment's JACK BROOKS, MONSTER SLAYER. This is a D2DVD release by AB starring Robert (do I really need to give you his credits?) Englund and several other unknowns both in front and behind the camera.

On the surface JBMS is a terrific premise for a movie - an average Joe, a plumber by trade, is trying to deal with life's little problems like the fact he is in dire need of some anger management. Jack (Trevor Matthews - also the producer) gets angry at everyone, but buries his rage until it explodes forth by punch or crunch.

All of this relates to a childhood trauma Jack has where he witnessed his family's murder (okay, slaughter) by a bloodthirsty creature of the night. Jack is told there's, "no such thing as monsters," until of course, he encounters the supernatural yet again, and finally has a worthy target for his pent up rage.

JBMS has all the earmarks of a first-time feature filmmaker group with a great premise, but no experience or craft to back it up. The exception being the wonderfully goofy Special FX that include a "Big Daddy Roth" inspired Englund puppet and plenty of tentacle softcore porn. This movie makes a lot of promises, but fails to deliver in nearly every case - why?

Because I don't think that the filmmakers (writer, director, cast) knew what sort of movie they were making. There are a few moments that are "inspired" but they are surrounded by so many moments that are cliche', poorly staged padding to the movie, or just downright wrong.

One problem I had with the movie was the fact that the hero cursed all the time. It made him unlikeable and really foul. How are we supposed to root for our hero to overcome his problems and win the day when we really don't like his foul mouth?

The whole subplot / flashback could have been used in a much better way to reflect the emotional subtext of Jack's crisis. Instead the idea of a monster's heart just sort of lies there and doesn't add to the movie.

There are moments where the filmmakers were obviously influenced by movies like EVIL DEAD, RE-ANIMATOR etc...movies that have both the funny and the horror. But JBMS doesn't have any of the energy of those movies. It's like the idea of "almost funny" - it's either funny or its not.

In this regard, JBMS -- which is supposed to be both funny and horrific -- is neither.

1 comment:

Kelly J. Crawford said...

One of the filmmakers is a former client of my public relations/talent management firm here in Ottawa. JK is a skilled writer/director in his own right and I was/am very much impressed with his earlier, award-winning works (Apt. 310) before he and his friends launched Brookstreet. But something happened when they joined forces. J's talents somehow seem...diminished, unfocused. I really hope he can recapture that special something that impressed me enough to take him on as a client several years back.