Monday, February 23, 2009

Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer (2007)

Director: Jon Knautz

Starring: Robert England, Canadians

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: ...I used to be a plumber

Plot: As a child Jack Brooks witnessed the brutal murder of his family. Now a young man he struggles with a pestering girlfriend, therapy sessions that resolve nothing, and night classes that barely hold his interest. After unleashing an ancient curse, Jack's Professor undergoes a transformation into something not quite human, and Jack is forced to confront some old demons... along with a few new ones.

My Rating: 7

Would I watch it again? You bet, eh!

If you're a fan of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead films, particularly the first two, then you're going to dig this fun Canadian entry into the comedy horror genre, eh.

You want something different? Something that's entertaining, fresh and far away from Hollywood? Here ya go, eh. This thing's pretty damn funny and, for the most part, keeps your attention with some howlingly funny laugh-out-loud moments mixed with blood.

Robert Englund's the only name attached to the picture and he's obviously having a great time. But it's first-time-in-a-feature actor, Trevor Matthews as the title character with anger issues, that steals the show. He's hysterical and nails the part to the back wall. The scene when we first see him with the counselor had me laughing so hard that 2, maybe 3 drops of pee came out. Scout's honor. Fucking hysterical! If you can find clips of this guy going batshit, watch 'em!

"I had to go to fucking Wal-Mart to get a fucking toaster!"

Considering the minuscule budget I assume they were working on, the special effects are really good. And it was cool that there was no CGI. And if I remember right (it's only been a couple of days) there's some fun stop motion animation thrown into the mix. I dig practical effects and it was great to see them used. Yeah, it's a man in a rubber suit but who cares? It's fun and there's plenty of blood and guts for us gore-hounds out there.

Then there's the music. Ryan Shore's score IS REALLY GOOD. In fact, it's too good. It sounds like it should be for a film with four times the budget and action. You'll know what I mean when you see it 'cause I know you're going to rush out and get it now, right? 'Turns out he's the saxophonist for Matchbox 20. Neat.

I'm always hammering on about how so many movies are too long. Well, that's the case here but it's a little different. Usually it seems like a director couldn't excise a scene here and there for the sake of pacing because they're so married to it. Here, I got the feeling that writer/director Jon Knautz let a lot of scenes go on far too long. You know, 15 seconds here, 40 seconds there. It adds up after a while. It's only 85 minutes but it felt like, unless there was something cool or funny to slap back in, it needed a few minutes trimmed to tighten it up. This was most apparent in Englund's scenes. I figure his salary was the most expensive item in the budget and if you've got him you'd better use him. After all, most people will probably watch this only because HE'S in it, right? So rather than trim many of his scenes (and he does get a good deal of screen time, btw) for the sake of the film, let's give this dog his bone. But, hey, what the fuck do I know, right? I'm just a dork sitting here writing about shit that someone else made without my help.

This guy's a hoot. "Oooh. Ten dollars..."

JB:MS is one of those films that comes along without really anything new to add but it gives you a good feeling that there are people out there, new film makers, that have a vision and good ideas that need to be nourished. This is Knautz's first feature film. I'm looking forward to the next one. There is a sequel listed on IMDB with 2010 date but there's no information and no one attached to it. Let's hope Hollywood's not getting involved. Give this guy some more money and let's see what he can do with it because he's proven he's better at than a some A-list directors with $100 million plus. I'm talking to you, Michael Bay.

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