Cast:Trevor Matthews, Robert Englund, Rachel Skarsten, James A. Woods, Daniel Kash, Ashley Bryant, Stefanie Drummond, Meghanne Kessels, David Fox
Canadian newcomer Jon Knautz brings back fun old school practical creature FX with Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer, a film that has shown a lot of promise for the genre. Reminiscent of classic horror-comedies like Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn, the film follows a lonely plumber, who spends most of his nights going to adult education courses, and his days visiting the local psychiatrist to vent about his anger issues. Growing up Jack has always had problems with controlling his rage, determining that its roots lie within the incident as a child, where he witnessed the brutal slaying of his parents and sister by an unknown creature. Jack has always looked back at the moment and regretted not standing his ground against the foul beast instead of simply fleeing into the woods.
One night Jack's skills are requested by his teacher (Robert Englund) whose newly-bought fixer-upper-home has had some minor kinks in the plumbing. While attempting to fix the problem, Jack unknowingly causes the ground outside the home to open up, releasing some strange gas into the surface. This dark force finds its way into the teacher's body and temporarily takes control over him and makes him dig up the rest of the ground. This leads to the discovery of a mysterious crate filled with dirt and a rotting corpse. It seems, however, that the victim's heart is still somehow beating, and for one reason or another, causes the teacher to swallow that sucker whole.
The film opens up with some good action, detailing Jack's life up until now, and showing the death of his family. Sadly, the next 50-or-so-minutes of the movie doesn't deliver as much of the fast-pacing the intro did. A majority of the film just follows Jack as he goes to class, goes to the psychiatrist, and we're shown all the annoying people he encounters in his daily life. The only indication we have of trouble brewing is the very slow transformation of Robert Englund's character, who still goes to class, despite looking all sorts of sick, even vomiting in front of the students. Things finally pick up an hour into the flick, when various monsters appear, giving Jack his true calling in life.
I liked the movie. It was fun, had good practical make-up effects (which we don't see often now-a-days) and I liked the Jack character, despite his constant outbursts. There wasn't as much action as the trailers led us to believe, but Jack's daily life and comedic undertones throughout the movie kept things interesting, at least for me. It still would have been nice to see a little more action thrown somewhere in the middle though. When things pick up in the last 20-minutes we finally get what we've been waiting for -- some monster ass-kicking. I'd like to think of this as the start of possible trilogy of Jack Brook films with this detailing his start, and a potential second showing his growth. I guess only time will tell.
Fans of old school practical creature FX will be delighted to see that the beasts in this film don't disappoint, however, the action and pacing of the movie did. If you can relax and sit through the first 50-minutes of Jack living his life, you will be delivered a nice little monster-slaying treat. Worth a check.
|Posted on June 1, 2010 - 6:12pm | FrighT MasteR|