Anything for Jackson follows an elderly couple that attempts to "resurrect" the soul of their dead grandchild by using a dark magic to bring his spirit into the unborn child of a kidnapped pregnant woman. As their inexperience in satanic rituals becomes increasingly apparent, hijinks and horrors erupt within the home.
Anything for Jackson Review
With it being December, I've already begun the process of building out my top 10 horror movies of the year. Rarely does a film released in December flirt with making the list. Anything for Jackson not only makes my top 10 of the year (oops, spoilers), but it's flirting with a high spot.
I hold films that have a unique vision and personality in high regard, particularly because it is growing harder and harder to be wholly original in an ever-jading cinema. But being unique doesn't necessarily make you well-made (see: Efrit and I's conflict over The Wolf of Snow Hollow), for originality and quality do not always run hand-in-hand. However, Anything for Jackson is able to achieve both originality and quality throughout its production, turning it into one of the most entertaining and substantial horror films of the year.
Perhaps the best quality of the film is its balance of horror and humor. There are moments where I jumped in fright and laughed at the same time, conjuring a response rarely felt. The spontaneity of the film is a bright highlight, shined brighter by its brave and effective use of hopping back and forth through the timeline of the tale. Its deft use of this method allowed our development of empathies for several characters to take a foothold while the dark entities inhabiting the house try to take a foothold of them.
The pacing is perfect with never a dull moment. Even when we're not seeing the elderly couple or the pregnant woman harassed by ghosts, we are witness to a somber or heartwarming moment in the doctor's office or a silly yet sweet exchange between the elderly couple as they try to practice their satanic craft. The flow is balanced perfectly to hit on so many notes, yet still be firmly categorized within the horror genre.
The acting is great and the script is strong due partly to the delivery of the actors and the execution of the directing. Much like my praise of Invisible Man and Daniel Isn't Real, everything in Anything for Jackson works in tandem together without a weak link that drags down the surrounding components of the film. The actors don't carry the script, nor are they hampered by it. And the directing and editing helps establish atmosphere while giving well-timed breaks of humor in the vein of Cabin in the Woods.
While I have nearly everything to praise about this film, there has to be something worth critiquing, doesn't there? I think perhaps my biggest critique is merely an observation to the film's inclusivity; that the film's personality and aura won't be for everyone. It has this dry, dark humor that may fall short of comedic expectations and thereby the film's personality will only dilute the horror elements. Or perhaps the movie's humor tickles you, but its fluidity with the horror makes it awkward rather than properly mixed.
The value of the movie for me is in its mixture of subtlety and impulsivity. Because of the way in which the film plays out, you are incapable of knowing what will happen next, and that's what I found so beautiful about it. But perhaps an even greater quality is that despite its ability to execute on randomness, it also retains a lot of rewatch value, at least for me. Now that I know what's going down, I can sit back and appreciate a well-executed film for all of the fancifully constructed elements it brought together. And I just might watch it again soon, hopefully with a buddy that finds it as entertaining as I do.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 8/10 Horror Quality: 7/10
Film Quality: 7/10