Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer – 8

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Director – Jon Krautz

Cast – Trevor Matthews, Robert Englund, Daniel Kash, David Fox, Dean Hawes, Rachel Starsken, James A. Woods

Release Year – 2007

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Why is it that so many of the great modern day horror films are not widely released in theaters, and instead either get limited releases or go straight to DVD. It really is a damn shame that this happens now adays. Although we do get some pretty good horror films that go into theaters (“28 Days Later, “28 Weeks Later, “The Descent), way to many awesome horror films seem to get no love from production companies and are seemingly kicked to the curb. It is a sad state of affairs that these awesome films do not get the same representation as horrible, teeny horror films like “The Haunting of Molly Hartley” got with it’s wide release and immense advertising. “Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer” is not only an awesome horror film, but goes back to the 80s feel of horror back when horror was enjoyable…and gory. This is the best 80s-homaged horror film since “Slither”, and actually…I will go ahead and say it, Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer is BETTER than “Slither“. Not a whole lot better, but better.

The film follows Jack Brooks(played by Trevor Matthews), a man who’s family was murdered by a monster when he was a  young boy, and has since had extreme anger problems aimed at his inability to save his family so many years prior. Years of therapy have done nothing to improve his anger issues, and his uber-annoying girlfriend does nothing to help his situation either. He works as a plumber and takes night classes to help him adopt a more enjoyable career, unfortunately they hardly interest him and his grades show for it. In an attempt to help salvage his piss poor grades, he agrees to help his professor(played by horror icon Robert Englund) with some problems he has with the pipes in an old house he just bought for dirt cheap(sound fishy?). Fast forward a little while, and something strange begins to happen to the night class professor. He begins acting differently, projectile vomiting some nasty looking stuff, and soon turns into and awesome looking not-so-human creature. With the night class slowly being devoured and turned into violent zombies, Jack Brooks must finally use his anger for something good, as well as get revenge on the creatures of the night that took his family away from him so many years ago.

This flick has everything you can ask for in a horror film. An interesting story, gore, laughs, monsters, fighting, enjoyable characters, good pacing, no CGI, revenge, and of course…Robert Englund!. The film did take a while to get to the good stuff, but I did not find that to be a problem due to how enjoyable the plot-filler scenes were. a lot of times horror films simply take too long or leave too much time between horror scenes. However with this film, all of the time taken between horror scenes was both needed for the plot to develop…and best of all…funny! This film reminded me a lot of “The Evil Dead” and the most recent 80s-homage…”Slither”. I really applaud director/co-writer Jon Knautz and writer John Ainslie with this very successful attempt to bring us a fun horror film that would go great with some pizza, beer, and wings. :light bulb above head lights up:

Trevor Matthews did a fine job as Jack Brooks, which is very surprising given his little previous film experience. Given that he has done several of Jon Krautz’s other films in the last few years, I see this little relationship of theirs hopefully blossoming into something fun, and gory in the near future. :crosses fingers: And of course…Robert Englund. The iconic horror figure most known for his roles in the seven “Nightmare on Elm Street” films and of course the infamous “Freddy vs. Jason” did a fantastic job as Jack Brooks’ quirky professor who finds ill fate in the new home he bought with a knowingly dark past. It is just classic seeing Mr. Englund slowly, and comically transform into the awesome looking creature we see towards the end of the film. Speaking of the creatures…there was absolutely no use of CGI in this film, which is AMAZING! Way too many times I see good films with good ideas take the crappy road and use CGI effects for their monsters instead of the much scarier live action effects(like “I Am Legend” did) that helped transform Tom Savini into the iconic special effects maestro he is.

I really have nothing to detriment this film on aside from Jack Brooks’ overly annoying girlfriend Eve. Actress Rachel Starsken did a fantastic job at playing the overly annoying girlfriend, and I really hope it’s not a “natural” role for her. Haha! I do understand the purpose of Eve’s role in the film, showing how Jack Brooks may in fact be justified in many of his anger problems given that he doesn’t’ have an escape from normal life in the form of a woman, but instead it is a woman is who only giving him more hell. Sound like marriage anyone? JK

Overall, this is an awesome film that I recommend to all horror fans. This takes us back to when horror films were fun, interesting, and stayed true to form with live-action effects.

Rating: 8/10

– I ranked this film #35 in my “Top 50 Horror Movies of the Decade(31-40)” post.

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