Gerald Wright's Movie Coverage
JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER
Directed by: Jon Knautz
Running time: 85 minutes
Release date: August 15, 2008 (New York)
Genre: Horror, Comedy and Thriller
Distributor: Brookstreet Pictures
MPAA Rating: R
Horror has been one of the most liked genres in film. Director and co-screenplay writer Jon Knautz has the right touch in this retro campy thriller. This is an amusing "scare movie" which displays the art of crafting visceral violence, predictable cliches, hideous monsters and loads of bone chilling female screams.
Jack Brooks (Trevor Matthews) is a daytime plumber and a nighttime science student, with an anger management problem that is treated by Dr. Silverman (Daniel Kash). His anger problem stems from his childhood when he witnessed the brutal murder of his family by a wild cannibal demon. He carried the thought of being helpless and unable to defend them into his adulthood. His fury causes him to fight with everyone he comes into contact with. Jack has a struggling relationship with his girlfriend Eve (Rachel Skarsten) who is a perpetual nag. Jack and Eve share a science class where the "fright master" Robert Englund portrays a nerdy Professor Crowley. The Professor has asked Jack over to his house to repair his pipes one night, when a mysterious ancient curse is unleash transforming the Professor into a cannibal like monster. Now the villainy, horror, fright, mayhem and madness begins.
This horror film is a throwback to the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, it is reminiscent of something John Waters would have thought of doing. All the elements of "campy" come together in Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer. The point of this fun loving fright film is to use the characters and settings to stretch the limits of credibility, and this was done to perfection.
The film has all of the setting and location basics which typically make up a perfect campy horror movie. For example, the film has the scenarios of researchers performing scientific studies, and bizarre accidents occuring causing calamities. Only Robert Englund could pull off a classic "mad scientist gone mad" in such rare form. I was extremely impressed by the dialogue (which also plays into the way dialogue is done in a campy cut horror film). The recurring themes depicting and demonstrating bodily fluids were great.
The other "must have" in this genre is, of course, lots of screaming. The film's female ensemble of Ashley Bryant, Stephanie Drummond, Meghanne Kessels and Meg Charette perform this task with clarity. Additionally, this madcap funny thriller added blood splatters, dead bodies to trip on and inclement weather to the scenario.
Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer develops a cinematic language for comedy and horror. The film shows that all these elements coming together can be a rich and brilliant source of material.
FILM RATiNG (B)