Anything for Jackson
With demonic possession, Satanism, kidnapping and plenty of gnarly effects, Canadian filmmaker Justin G Dyck swaps his usual family-friendly Christmas affairs for Anything for Jackson, his first foray into the horror genre. While demonic possessions are a dime a dozen these days, Dyck brings some originality to the table with his project (penned by frequent collaborator Keith Cooper), as we follow an elderly couple (Sheila McCarthy and Julian Richings) attempting to bring back the ghost of their eponymous grandson by inviting his spirit into the unborn child of a pregnant woman (Konstantina Mantelos). However, the two bite off more than they can chew when they accidentally invite something else into their home.
Starting with an effectively detached shot of the couple kidnapping their victim, the initial impression is of Misery meets Rosemary’s Baby. As enticing as that premise sounds, this is merely the groundwork for what is to come: the quaint suburban home evolves into a carnival of horrors, growing more chaotic as more pieces are introduced into the narrative. And at the heart of it all are the performances from McCarthy and Richings, who are simply delightful. They may be doing horrendous things, but it’s impossible not to root for them.
Don’t be tricked by this sweet duo, though – the film is far from wholesome. Many of the flick’s highlights stem from its fiendishly fantastic practical effects, which lace the nastiness with a dash of black humour for good measure. Not all the effects are as successful, but what does work makes for some fun scares.
With so much potential it comes as a disappointment that Dyck doesn’t seem to have the confidence to let his film speak for itself. Instead, he leans too heavily on an overbearing soundtrack that strips the atmosphere from the claustrophobic setting. Ghostly figures in the doorway would have been far more effective had the music not instantly drawn our attention to them.
Anything for Jackson may not be anything especially groundbreaking or terrifying, but it’s an enjoyably schlocky and utterly entertaining romp that horror fans are sure to love, if they don’t take it too seriously.
Anything for Jackson is released digitally on demand on 3rd December 2020.
Watch the trailer for Anything for Jackson here: