Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.
Is there any greater villain in horror than the rich? In horror movies with a big nasty monster, there is usually a wealthy person behind it all. And if they are not the cause, they are just as bad – if not worse. Screening at the Nightstream Film Fest, Anything for Jackson is one of the more interesting horror films in recent years. Becker (Konstantina Manteos)is a pregnant single mom to be. Dr. Henry Walsh (Julian Richings) and his wife Audrey (Shelia McCarthy) have lost their grandchild, Jackson. They are also Satanists who wish to bring him back from the dead.
Things start innocently enough. The Walshes seem like any other friendly elderly couple. There is a charm to the two. It also opens up an interesting question. Will the baddies in Anything for Jackson be too likable? It is a thin line, but writer Keith Cooper and director Justin G. Dyck are able to navigate it. The Walshes have a surface level kindness that is genuine. The audience cannot help but pity them.
Much like their seemingly compassionate nature, the sympathy will only go so far. Downright evil may not be the best way to describe the two. Privileged is definitely correct. This is what makes Anything for Jackson so good. The story subtly becomes a commentary on class. Anything for Jackson is about the division between the rich and everyone else. The Walshes may be kind, but there is also a disregard for others. They deserve whatever they want – no matter what the cost.
Anything for Jackson effectively delivers its jump scares. They are well spaced and are able to work to maximum effect. The special effects and creature designs also look great and add to these fear inducing moments. The performances from Richings and McCarthy are tremendous. Anything for Jackson is as much about how the two trying to handle the various missteps they encounter. It is an engaging back and forth that ironically showcases the love the two have for each other.
Anything for Jackson can be referred to as a reverse exorcism movie. Its story about an elderly couple wanting to bring their grandson back has some heart. It is also a tale about privilege and love all wrapped in a frightening package. A interesting take on a possession story along with some strong acting make this a great horror movie.
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