Wednesday, October 8, 2008
JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER. I Guess.
I don't know, I guess I was just going into this with some kind higher hopes than this film was rightly going to deliver. I had read about this in Rue Morgue, seen ads from one end of the net to the other, and really built up this degree of what I might see. And, I suppose, all in all, I did see a pretty cool little horror flick that was different from so much of the other glop that's been sliding down the pike of late, but it was literally like watching a kid learn to walk. A little to slow for me. Well, except for the super rubbery, yet super cool monster fight that lights up the first few minutes of the film.
So, it starts off with Jack Brooks (Trevor Matthews), a no-direction plumber who, with all of his other class mates, looks far too old to be in the chemistry class he's in with is girlfriend, Eve (Rachel Skarsten). His professor, Mr. Crowley, a bumbling and slightly milk toast Robert Englund is absolutely the stand out cast member here. Not surprisingly. Jack is a regular with his psych attempting in vein to discover why he flies off the handle at every little thing resulting in anger-fueled tirades and ruthless beatings to those around him. To the audience, but not yet to his shrink, Jack explains that he bore witness to a brutal murder by some kind of hideous monster in the woods that lead to the gory slaughter of his dad, mom, and little sister. Jack ran, and has always felt a bit bad about it. So, Jack, with all of his rough charm and Canadian "Eh" likability is failing his class since he never shows up. In an act of good faith, he offers to fix Mr. Crowley's plumbing.
Jack soon discovers that the ancient pipes and boiler are clogged beyond repair somewhere under the ground and, as curiosity tends to murder the feline, Mr. Crowley digs around on his own only to discover a box near one of the shattered pipes. In a scene so directly borrowed from Jason Goes To Hell, a still-beating, wicked heart finds its way into the poor prof's mouth thereby turning him, ever so slowly, into some kind of hell-spawn.
While ordering up a new part for his teacher's boiler, Jack runs into Old Howard (David Fox) who, in a tour-de-force performance as the best crotchety, memory-lapsing old coot I have ever seen, tells Jack that the very house he's doing work at has an old Demonic curse surrounding it brought on by Old Howard and his deceased uncle. Jack rolls his eyes, and leaves not yet fully aware of the danger waiting just ahead.
Professor Crowley has undergone a serious bit of rearranging that only partially includes massive food consumption and gallons of various-colored vomit. As he finally completes his metamorphosis into a Weird Science-looking "Chet" beast with limitless-lengthed tendrils, Jack knows he can't run from the marauding demon horde this time and off he goes with pipe in hand to save the day.
The fight scenes were pretty sweet, coupled with such obvious Halloween costumes to almost border ridiculous, that the lack of productions is what truly makes this movie shine. If ever there was a spot-on attempt to homage Evil Dead, this was it. Trevor Matthews Canadian drawl is just perfect for this roll and one can only assume he's just as bad-ass in other movies, though I've never seen one. Primarily, the only complaint I have is that it took too darn long to get moving and the way it ends, without spoiling anything, leads one to believe that more are on the horizon. All in all, a fun film indeed.