Sunday, October 19, 2008

Jack Brooks Monster Slayer [2007] Movie Review

 


Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer (2007)

Studio: Anchor Bay

DVD Release Date: October 7, 2008

Directed By: Jon Knautz

Cast: Trevor Matthews, Robert Englund, Daniel Kash, Rachel Skarsten, James A. Woods



This film came out on DVD this month after having a limited NA release, along with the usual indie film circuit. It's Canadian made and born so as a fellow Canuck I had to review it. Not to mention it has one of my favorite actresses Rachel Skarsten starring in it, which is good enough for me to actually watch a horror movie, something I usually avoid.

The film is visably low budget yet it has more charm than most horror/comedy. Yes there is the gore factor, made more vivid because it's not a computer image on screen, yet it all works together. The main hero Jack is a plumber of all things, who witnessed his parents and sister get mauled to death by demons it seems when he was young. He did nothing to help them and at present is now seeing a cousellor trying to contain his angry impulses and outbursts. When he's not striking out at people or yapping to his phyciatrist he's being bitched at by his incrediably self centered girlfriend Eve [Rachel Skarsten] while taking night classes with her.

All this makes for a nice if cliched school setting where mayham is soon to follow. The professor of Jack and Eve's class, Professor Crowley played up to the hammiest by Robert Englund  asks Jack to come by after class and fix a pipe in his house. Unknown to Jack or the Professor a spirit is release and eventually possess Crowly. All hell of course breaks loose at the night school when said Professor Crowley turns into a demon himself and goes after the class one by one. Jack hilarously abondons his girlfriend Eve on the side of the road when he realizes now is not the time to run and races back with his trusty plumbers belt to save the world. All that anger turns out to work wonders against the demons as Jack in the end get's a new girl and a new job slaying demons.

This works so well because of the main actors, especially Trevor Matthews in the title role. He plays Jack with both sensitivity, charm and guy toughness that's usually lacking in most movies. He's a man's man and takes no gruff from any one. One scene portrays this wonderfully as in a earlier class Jack strikes out and punches a doped up weed pacifist who annoys him too much. He's not the typical hero, nor does he use the conventional weapons such as guns and bombs. He uses the smarts he has and his rage along with his plumber tools of course.

Robert Englund simply hams it up as the Proffessor, clearly having fun with the role. He's a hoot to watch . Not sure if he was inside the demon suit at all but he was great as he tranformed into the beast.

Rachel Skarsten played the bitch girlfriend over the top, enough that you really did hate her in the end and yet still felt sorry for her when Jack abandoned her later. She was effective in ramping up Jack's anger to get him to do something. She's one of the few girlfriends in movies who didn't get taken down by the beast, setting this apart from the majority of horror films.

As I said this is non CGI film, so all the demons and effects are drawn out and more noticable. It gives this movie a better charm than the over produced slickness of other horror movies. They may look cheesy or even corny but you quickly get past that and enjoy the the straight forward story. The story doesn't try to be complicated, it stays on course right to the end and doesn't meander sideways. The only probelm is the time which is terriably short.

I give it 3 1/2 out of 5. Good fun, horror that doesn't go over board, but too short and perhaps a little corny for todays CGI fed fanboys.

RTMS

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