FILM REVIEW: Get bloody with ‘Jack’

Just in time for Halloween comes Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer. This is the perfect "popcorn horror" film with an equal blend of action, horror and tongue-in-cheek humor, resembling a more modernized Evil Dead or Army of Darkness.

Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer tells the tale of mild-mannered plumber by day, community college student by night, Jack Brooks. Brooks is searching for peace of mind, which he cannot seem to find despite therapy sessions and anger management. As a child, Brooks witnessed the death of his family at the hands of a monster and hasn’t been the same since. Brooks’ professor, played by horror icon Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise), discovers an artifact in his backyard, which unleashes the monster within. The professor goes through a slow transformation from human to oversized, multi-tentacle beast. Once the transformation is complete, he begins an attack on his unsuspecting class devouring some students and transforming the others into monsters. Brooks has an epiphany in that he believes his true calling in life – to mercilessly beat up and destroy any monster that crosses his path.

What makes this film work is that it has that fun factor. Remember when you were a kid and there was something dangerous about going to a horror movie? The film has that edge, but at the same time never takes itself too seriously with an equal ratio of laughs to scares. The special effects and monsters are a tribute to the imagination, with various monster-types being represented from a Cyclops to flesh eating forest beasts. At times, the film is a splatter fest of gore resulting from crushed monster skulls and puss and blood.

First-time director Jon Knautz does a fine job taking on the daunting task of directing horror. There is a strong 1980s American horror influence in the film, which attempts to take an over-the-top influence on numerous occasions. Trevor Matthews stars as Brooks, but also helped produce and write Monster Slayer. The fun vibe the film gives off seems to be a direct result of the filmmakers having equally as much fun making the movie.

If you are looking for a smart, brooding thriller, look elsewhere. Maybe you want to go safe with those PG-13 films starring young Hollywood? This Halloween, suspend your adulthood and go back to the time you were a 13-year old sneaking into bad Troma movies at the local cinema. Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer is available out on DVD.

Leave a Comment