Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer (DVD)
Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Robert Englund, Trevor Matthews, Rachel Skarsten, James A. Woods, Daniel Kash
Directed by Jon Knautz
Distributed by Anchor Bay Home Entertainment
Oh look. Another movie featuring a chick tied to a chair going all screamy. Pass. Wait, here's one that has some people wearing pale make-up while running around pretending that they're zombies. Yawn. A new PG-13 rated horror flick this weekend? God no. How about a remake? I want to die. Now. Where has all the fun gone in our favorite genre? It's like we're in a state of cinematic recession. I'm so sick to death of the aforementioned cookie-cutter safe-street nonsense. Luckily for us every now and then a flick comes along with some attitude. A movie with balls! Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer be thy name.
After watching his parents slain by a beastie, young Mr. Brooks grows up to be a very angry man. Working as a plumber isn't cutting it in terms of getting out his pent-up aggression, and neither is therapy. Our hero needs something a little more visceral. Good thing for him one of his college professors has unwittingly set loose a monstrous force that's hellbent on killing folks and spawning other creatures. Finally! An avenue for revenge! Can the world be saved by someone who's traded in his plunger for an axe? Damned straight it can. In glorious limb-flying detail!
That's the story in a nutshell for Anchor Bay's newly released gem Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer. For the most part this flick succeeds in everything that it tries to do and deliver, but there are a few bumps along the way. Jack's Achilles Heel is pacing. Simply put, the movie takes just a bit too long to get to where it needs to be. There's no doubt Brooks is a great character, but he needs to be put to work a hell of a lot faster than he was here. The entire second act feels like a crawl to the third, but once we get there? All bets are off! The final act of this flick shines like the dark star that we hoped it would. The monster effects are incredible, the score is epic, and the gore is slathered on with maniacal glee. We need more of this stuff, and we need it like yesterday!
Also of stellar proportions is the DVD itself. In true to form fashion Anchor Bay deals out another winner. Things kick off with a hilarious audio commentary by director Jon Knautz, producer Patrick White, producer/actor Trevor Matthews, and composer Ryan Shore that actually helps the second act play way better than it does without it. It's an absolute good time. From there we get several making-of featurettes that, when all is said and done, end up clocking in at around an hour and a half's worth of cool extra stuff; five deleted scenes that include a bit more monster action; storyboards; an art gallery; a still gallery; and finally the trailer.
If you don't have the time to sift through all of that, do yourself a favor and dig on the Creating The Monsters featurette. The monsters featured in this flick are some of the best we've seen in decades, and the best part? They're all done practically. You may not know the name of F/X artist David Scott just yet, but I'm pretty sure you will soon. The guy's a genius.
At the end of the day, despite its imperfections, Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer still manages to kick a copious amount of ass by breathing some much needed fresh air into the flattened lungs of our genre. Best of all -- it's a good old-fashioned fucking monster movie, man! The creature feature subgenre has been under-served for far too long. Viva la dudes in rubber suits! How we have missed you! Here's hoping for an action-packed sequel that will feature more of what we want -- and maybe even a couple of plunger-stuffed anal probes for shits and giggles!
Jack Brooks ... Not a pussy!
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