Jack Brooks Monster Slayer

Jack Brooks Monster Slayer (2007)

Trevor Matthews, Robert Englund, James A. Woods
Dir: John Knautz

When Jack Brooks was a kid, he had a really shitty life experience. One night while camping, he is forced to flee in terror when his family is viciously attacked and murdered by a hideous troll. Of course this, like almost any traumatizing event would, has left some lasting effects on Jack...particularly a troublesome anger problem, but who can blame the guy?

See Jack.
Fast forward some years to grown Jack. All he wants is to live a normal life by making ends meet as a plumber, going to night school, and occasionally seeing a therapist (remember that anger problem?).

Well, unfortunately for Jack, a small plumbing job he does for his night professor is all it takes to ruin that normal life  and catapult him back to the monster filled nightmare that was his youth...but this time, he's pissed.

Jack Brooks Monster Slayer (JBMS) is the first full length feature film by Canadian Writer/Director John Knautz. That being said, Knautz has actually several shorts prior to JBMS under his belt including "Apt 310" and "Teen Massacre", which you can read a bit about here and here. I can't comment on any of his pre or post JBMS work as I've not seen any yet, but if they're anywhere as worthwhile as this movie, then I'll be looking into checking them out just as anyone else who enjoyed this movie should.

To think...all he wanted was some Visine.
What I liked:  First, the story. JBMS isn't exactly your stereotypical revenge type horror movie. He's not Batman or Van Helsing. He's not invincible, he's just a pissed off guy with a score to settle.. Kinda like Michael Douglas in Falling Down, but with a lead pipe...and monsters...and Robert Englund.

Gingivitis...serious business.
Okay, maybe Falling Down wasn't the best of examples, but that still brings us to point two, the special effects. I really liked the practical effects in this movie. I liked the monsters for the most part, aside from looking somewhat goofy, they were at least grotesque and morbid. I particularly liked Prof. Gordon Crowley's (Robert Englund) transformation into the freakish monster making Fraggle Rock tentacle nightmare.

Bonus: On the dvd, there are some pretty cool deleted scenes, including a camping story about a troll told by his father and a scene at the bar where the class and Professor Crowley share a rather awkward evening. By no means am I saying they tip the scales as to if the movie is worth buying (not that it needs any help), but I did enjoy them enough to find them worth mentioning.

What I didn't like: Starting with the story again, it did feel as though it took a little too long to get to any real monster slaying. Mostly, it was an hour of flashbacks and fearful fleeing followed by what I'd been waiting for the whole time: gore and mayhem. That being said, it wasn't a bad story, it just could have been paced a little bit better.

The only other thing I didn't like (this actually has nothing to do with the movie, more a personal problem) was the scene where Janice (the obligatory class nerd) slips and breaks her thumb...I swear, I can't stand the concept of crippled digits, no matter how non-graphic! *shudders*

In a Nutshell: JBMS is a movie worth owning in the same way as Hatchet or even Shaun of the Dead. I'm not saying it's necessarily similar to either of those, but it does have a rather endearing quality that almost turns its shortcomings into strengths. While the budget wasn't major, the effects were perfect. The story did drag at a couple points, but after a pretty decent ending, there's an opening for a sequel and I'm hoping that's going to happen in the future (considering it's been announced, but it's been a couple years as you can see here on Fear.net). In other words, this movie gets two thumbs up and hopefully there's more to come.

Monster or not, you know you'd take his classes.

Fraggle, Fraggle RAAAAWWWKK!!!
Okay, okay, I'm done with the lame jokes!

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