Legend of Bloody Jack, The (DVD)
Starring Craig Bonacorsi, Erica Hoag, Jon Kawalski, Jessica Szabo, Josh Lyans, Alecia Klein
Directed by Tom Portugal
The Legend of Bloody Jack is a competently lensed film featuring perfectly adequate acting. I suppose if you're amongst the world's least discriminating slasher movie fans and you have the patience of Job then perhaps, maybe, just maybe, The Legend of Bloody Jack will satisfy you.
This concludes the positive commentary portion of the review.
So, uh, Legend of Bloody Jack ... This is both one of the easiest and yet most difficult reviews I've ever had to write. Easy in the sense that the movie is pretty much a plotless bore with very few details to actually write about and difficult in the sense that the film is so immensely bad words nearly escape me.
Basically, what passes for a story boils down to three plot points:
Plot Point #1 - Some guy for reasons never 100% clear decides to head out into the Alaskan wilderness to perform an incantation that will supposedly summon this long dead lumberjack that once killed a bunch of people and dabbled in the occult. Unfortunately for him, he succeeds.
Plot Point #2 - A group of young people (two couples and an odd man out) venture out into the Alaskan forest for a good time, only to fall victim to an ax-wielding, satanic lumberjack resurrected from bowels of hell.
Plot Point #3 - I'm going to save this one for a little bit later since doing so now would spoil the ending.
So, umm, the satanic lumberjack ... It's just some guy dressed like a logger with a hat on his head and a bandana over his face. What little bit of his face is exposed has been done up to look like it's been burnt - you know, because he's from hell. I don't know why they bothered with the burn make-up since you can't really tell his face is supposed to be burnt up except during extreme close-ups, of which there really aren't that many. Oh, and he swings an axe. Sometimes he throws the axe. And he axe murders everyone he comes across because, well, that's what undead lumberjacks from hell do. I don't think there was a single kill in this film that wasn't by way of the axe. Even Jason and Michael Myers like to mix it up a bit, but not ol' Bloody Jack - he's an axe man, by god!
He's also a procrastinator. There really is no logical reason for him to take his sweet time stalking people, toying with them, or just flat out slacking off between kills. This lumberjack had to have been a union man during his mortal life to believe this level of doing-nothing-ness is acceptable while on the clock. And because the movie is set in Alaska during a time as we're told when the sun never sets, that means there's no chance for the director to generate any mood or atmosphere. Nope, it's just a guy with an axe somehow sneaking up on people in the woods in broad daylight for 80 minutes.
I don't know why Bloody Jack insisted on taking his sweet ass time; I just wish he hadn't. Because if Bloody Jack isn't killing these people then that means we have to listen to them have boring conversations or pretend to be doing stuff you don't give a rat's patooty about. Sheesh, if ever there were people you didn't want to have to watch saying or doing anything, dammit, it's these people. That's what they are too - just people. These are not characters - just warm bodies. They have names, but names are not important here, since they're just people that exist for the sole purpose of getting axe murdered or running away from an axe murderer. And since the movie would be incredibly short if the killer had just gotten right down to killing them from the get-go, these warm bodies have to say and do stuff in between killings, stuff so uninteresting even gratuitous sex scenes prove boring. What little they do is so boring if the film had just had them sit around the living room for about 45-minutes during the midsection repeatedly asking, "So when's the guy with the axe going to get here?," it wouldn't have made the proceedings any less mind-numbing.
Yes, there it is; the word I've been searching for: mind-numbing. That's precisely the word that sums up Legend of Bloody Jack - mind-numbing to the core.
I actually find myself amazed to know Legend of Bloody Jack was released by The Asylum. As I understand it, this one wasn't actually produced by The Asylum, just one they picked up for distribution. Given what a God awful, nothing happening, no budget, utter waste of time and energy it is, I suspect somewhere there's a DVD distribution exec with Lionsgate or Anchor Bay reading this review right now and kicking themselves for not beating The Asylum to it.
Now as is tradition with recent Asylum DVD marketing, let's take a sec to review a couple of the blurbs they've splashed upon the DVD casing for this particular film.
"Based on the terrifying true events behind America's scariest campfire tale"
Odd, I don't recall this movie having anything to do with an escaped mental patient with a hook for a hand.
"Recalls the raw, savage horror of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Last House on the Left"
Indeed. While watching this movie I actually said to myself, "I recall the raw, savage horror of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Last House on the Left, but this Legend of Bloody Jack movie just friggin' sucks."
"A modern 70's horror classic"
Does that line even make any sense? Just from a grammatical point-of-view I'm not sure that line makes sense. But if they'd dropped "70's" and "classic" from the line then I could agree with it.
Also, as is typically the case with an Asylum release, the DVD is loaded with extras. Why? I can't tell you how many good films I have DVDs of that were released practically barebones, yet here's a loaded disc for a movie that's utterly worthless. That's just wrong. I couldn't even bear to watch any of them since the moment this ordeal was over I couldn't have ejected it from my DVD player fast enough and promptly returned it to the video store ASAP. I will say that in my haste to expunge this film from my existence I do regret not having taken a look at one of the DVD extras called "Storyboards vs. Film." This thing was storyboarded in advance? Are you kidding me? Again, why?
Okay, time to put me and Legend of Bloody Jack out of our collective misery; so let me toss out a SPOILER ALERT just on the off chance someone reading this is actually in fear of having this film's ending spoiled. God help you if you do.
Plot Point #3 - At the end, right after the last two finally defeat Bloody Jack, the film jumps back to the five friends sitting around and it turns out that everything we just saw happen was actually nothing more than a campfire tale. Then Bloody Jack appears and axe murders every last one of them in a span of 90 seconds.
For goodness sake, why couldn't he have just done that in the first place and saved me 80+ minutes of my life that I'll never get back? This movie spent an interminable amount of time stretching out a rudimentary slasher movie premise, much of which was spent waiting for the killer to actually kill people, and then have the audacity to end it by first rendering everything we just sat through null and void and then turning around and having the killer kill everyone again in a matter of seconds ... Well, a hearty screw you too, then!
This movie was made by a guy named Tom Portugal who has made a bit of a name for himself teaming with comedian Steve Oedekirk to produce a series of comical short movies spoofing big budget movies but using people's thumbs decorated for the characters. An all-thumbs cast would not have made Legend of Bloody Jack any more bearable. But I do have a particular finger I'd like to give it.
1/2 out of 5
Discuss The Legend of Bloody Jack in our forums!