Cult Film Finder: Finding the Cult Movies We All Enjoy

Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer – 2007

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Language: English
Original Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
Directed by Jon Knautz
Cast: Trevor Matthews, Robert Englund, Rachel Skarsten

Synopsis
Jack Brooks is an angry young man who unknowingly awakens an ancient evil that transforms his professor into a weird tentacled monster.

DVD Release
Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer was released by Anchor Bay in 2008. The video is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1 aspect ratio) and looks good. The audio is in 5.1 Dolby Digital and the mix sounds great. There is a blu-ray release of the film without menu’s or features. Best Buy also released an exclusive 2-Disc DVD set which comes with a short film that was also made by Jon Knautz.

This review is for the standard single disc release by Anchor Bay.

Extras

  • Audio Commentary– The audio commentary is pretty bad. It takes some time to actually get any informative production information from the crew. You can definitely tell they were inexperienced with audio commentaries as it looks like they came unprepared. Their “jokes” were cringe worthy as well. Skip it.
  • Behind the Scenes(50:06) is a great feature that is surprisingly thorough. It makes up for the crapshoot of the audio commentary. It features plenty of behind the scenes footage and interviews with the cast and crew. We get a lot of “how it was done” type information and the crew seemed to really enjoy themselves. There seems to be an emphasis on the stunt work and how the creatures were operated. Recommended.
  • Creating the Monsters (15:20) is a more indepth look at the creatures. The feature has very cool information as David Scott (Creature and Special FX Designer) takes us through the entire creation and implementation of the monsters. Recommended.
  • Creating the Music(12:49) is a feature discussing the score of the film. We find out that it was recorded overseas in Slovakia for cost reasons. While I commend the use of the orchestra, I can’t say anything about the music actually stands out. The score does an adequate job but the feature is a tad tedious. Skip it.
  • World Premiere: Sitges, Spain(3:03) is a short feature documenting the world premiere of the movie. I wish they would of showed more footage of the panel discussion. Pretty cool feature, just too short. Not Bad.

Deleted Scenes (15:56)

  • The first scene shows the family in the woods and the father telling them the story of the troll. Pretty Boring and uneeded as the entire
    setup to the movie is already too long.
  • The 2nd scene is the professor and Jack Brooks talking after Jack goes to his house to try and repair his water. A rather short scene
    that was probably scrapped to shave some time off.
  • The 3rd scene is with Jack and Eve at their apartment. This scene is incredibly long and boring and the actress playing Eve will make you want to rip your ears out.
  • The 4th scene is with the Prof Monster eating and spitting out someone’s shoe. A pretty short scene that they should of kept in the film.
  • The fifth scene is with the Professor and the students eating at a resturant after his possession. Not a bad scene but it had no plot progression as it was all for Robert
    Englund to just ham it up more.

Overall the deleted scenes are mostly a miss.

Storyboard Comparison, Conceptual Art Gallery, On Set Still Gallery and Theatrical Trailer are the other extras on the disc and are a mix bag. There is an additional movie trailer of Behind the Mask- The Rise of Leslie Vernon.

What’s missing on the menu is the ability to replay the opening trailers. These trailers are Dead Space: Downfall, Dead Space the video game, Brutal Massacre: A Comedy, Hatchet and Wrestlemaniac. Shame on Anchor Bay for including a video game trailer.

Thoughts
The biggest peave I have with the film is just how long it takes for the film to actually become fun. The backstory runs about 30 minutes to long and you really just don’t care about Jack’s personal life as much as you care about him cracking some monster skulls. The pacing is so slow during the first hour that not even Robert Englund’s crazy possession routine saves it. Remove the majority of Jack’s prologue and bump up the monster madness and then we’ll be talking.

Robert Englund steals the show as expected acting wise. Trevor Matthews does an adequate job and you can see some small glimpses of maybe becoming a future cult actor.The rest of the cast is borderline bad to dreadful. I wasn’t expecting much and I’m glad I did.

The monster and gore effects were fun to watch as they were all practical. That’s right, no CGI baby. Blood seemed to be replaced with a black substance and there was plenty of fake vomit to go around. The Prof monster looked to be a cross between Jabba the Hut and the creature from the Troll movies. It’s nice to see practical make up effects and puppetry nowadays. You realize that it is indeed a dying artform.

I have a feeling the creators were trying to push a franchise onto us as the movie felt like a big build up for the Jack Brook’s character. Jack doesn’t seem as likable as Ash from Evil Dead. Most of Jack’s lines were cringe worthy and the acting cheese was nowhere near the awesomeness of Bruce Campbell. I wouldn’t be oppose to another Jack Brook’s film but the creator’s need to work on creating a suitable story with plenty of monster
action.

Conclusions
I really wanted to like Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer but in the end it just felt so unpolished that it was hard to look past its faults. If you’re a fan of Evil Dead style action then you might like the last 20 minutes of the film.

Rating

2.5 out of 5