Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Horror Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer

Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer

“Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer” is a black comedy/horror film straight out of Canada.  Directed by Jon Knautz and starring Trevor Matthews (who is also a producer of the movie), Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer goes back to the time when horror movie making was fun and low-budget horror films were turned into cult classics. Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer was made in the style of such films as Evil Dead trilogy and pays tribute to that style of filmmaking. Starring Trevor Matthews as Jack Brooks and Robert Englund as Professor Crowley, the film is set  in a local town in  present day America. When Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer was originally released, it received mixed reviews from the film critics.The movie begins as a demonic creature with Cyclopean features is intimidating a local village in Africa. The village’s hunters are having no effect at killing the monster and the locals begin running away for their lives. Some villagers are excitedly waiting outside a hut where a hidden hero is preparing to do battle. Jack Brooks starts off narrating his life and the reason behind his temper issues that have been with him since childhood. He has always had a short temper that he believes started back when he went as a young biy on a camping trip with his family. What started off as a pleasant event turned quickly into a nightmare as his entire family is brutally murdered by the demonic creature. Ever since that fateful event, Jack has had issues with anger. As an adult he ends up working as a local plumber during the day and takes a course in chemistry at night. Jack feels his life spiral out of control as his relationship with his girlfriend Eve fails and his issue with anger grows harder to control. One night after he comes in late to class, Professor Crowley asks Jack to stay behind. Jack believes he is going to be reprimanded by his professor for missing class so much and is startled to find that Professor Crowley needs his help as a plumber at the house he recently purchased. Later that night, Jack arrives and tries to remedy the problem with the pipes at Crowley’s new residence. Believing a clog caused the issue with the house’s plumbing, Jack unwittingly releases an evil that has been kept locked up for decades as well as needing to replace a pressure valve that flew off during the procedure. An imprisoned evil breaks free in the yard and creeps into the house as white smoky mist. It overtakes Professor Crowley and possesses him. Meanwhile Jack goes to the local hardware store to find a replacement knob for the pressure valve. The old man who is sleeping at the station tells him that he hasn’t seen a knob like Jack’s in a very long time. When the old-timer finds out when the knob came from, he becomes panicked and warns Jack to stay away from that house where his professor lives due to the fact it is cursed. Jack scoffs at the idea and the old man tells him to return the next night where he can pick up the knob and hear the story to why the house is a cursed place. Professor Crowley wakes up in his yard unaware of the night before and the events that took place. His hands are covered in muck and Crowley turns around realizing that he has been digging a hole in his yard without memory of doing so. He grabs a shovel and finishes the job until he hits pay dirt. Hidden deep in the earth, is a large heavy box that Crowley drags into his house to the study. When he opens it, a mound of dirt with bones lies within along with a blackened heart. The heart starts beating the professor’s hand as Crowley watches it with fascination. The hearts takes control of his hand forcing Crowley to consume it so that the evil lurking inside can possess him fully. Next scene shows Jack has returned to the hardware to learn the terrible secret behind the accursed house. As a child, the old man explains, he knew of his uncle’s terrible collections of macabre artifacts. One of his most prized possessions, the man explains, is the blackened heart of a demon which is cursed. One day he was looking at the box containing the heart and accidently cracked the glass box when his uncle caught him in the man’s study. Through the crack, the heart was able to possess his uncle and metamorphose him into a creature with an insatiable appetite. The man was forced to kill his uncle and bury him along with the heart in order to contain the evil from taking over the world. Jack doesn’t believe the man’s story but as the movie progresses Professor Crowley exhibits many of the same symptoms as the cursed uncle from the old man’s past. Finally as Jack realizes his true purpose, the stand of between good and evil will begin.The movie’s homage to Evil Dead was evident in its style of directing and set design. Examples can be seen in the creature design of the demons Jack faces as well as the comic relief moments. Jack is also a character who bears strong similarities to “Ash” in his behavior and fighting style.The movie was made with a low budget and the director and producers wanted a movie that was similar to the horror movies they watched as children they were growing up like Evil Dead.The creature design was flawless for being a low budget movie. It was well executed and when on screen, one could not tell it was done on such a tight budget. Also the special effects in this movie were believable except for one part in the end which was comic and fun. This movie paid homage well to the style, special effects and designs used in the 1980’s to make a B film fun, scary and entertaining.Surprisingly, I really enjoyed this film. As a lover of Raimi’s horror movies, I was really impressed on how well the director and producers captured his style of filmmaking without just imitating it entirely. I laughed at the parts meant to be funny and the film reminded me of a mesh between the 1985 Lamberto Bava’s “Demons”,  Steve Miner’s “House” (1986) and of course the Evil Dead Trilogy by Sam Raimi . I would highly recommend watching “Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer” if you are a fan of this style of horror films as well as want to have a good time doing so. I could see this film becoming another cult classic very soon.  

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