Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Intensely original and entertaining horror tale.
I had the pleasure of seeing this film's screener at the 2011 Splatterfest in Houston. Before the film began, the director apologized for sound effects that hadn't yet been added. To be honest, it was hardly noticeable due to the story and the acting pulling me into the film.
The story begins as a classic ghost story- 3 young local boys are gathered for an afternoon of fun, and 2 of the boys dare their squeamish younger friend to join them at the ruins of an infamous local house. The antagonists are run off by Sheriff Billy (played by the film's director), and the timid youngster asks him if the stories about Jacob Kell are true. This leads into our tale.
Dylan Horne is creepily effective as Jacob Kell, a young man who reminds one of Steinbeck's Lenny, albeit that Lenny was 3 times larger, stronger, and mute. Grace Powell is his beloved baby sister Sissy. I see a big future in film for this little girl. While Sissy's age is never given in the film, we are led to believe that she is around 7. She is the only voice of reason in a household that finds her mother, Edith, being brutally beaten by her stepfather Otis (also played by the director.) The world-weariness that Powell gives off when witnessing the fighting and tending to her mother afterward, while still finding time for dolly tea parties with her brother, will seriously tug at your heart.
While I think that Carell did an amazing job as director, I also consider him an excellent actor. To play both honorable Billy and cretin Otis is an admirable feat, both in performance and the fact that both characters are so different.
The character interactions give major drive to the story. While the viewer may wonder just why hapless Edith, Sissy's and Jacob's mother, stays with horrible Otis, we also gain insight from how her neighbors waffle in attention and affection for her. We learn that her first husband, Lawrence (played by the always-brilliant Michael Biehn) met a terrible end due to an unknown evil taking over him and leading him to commit multiple atrocities against the town. Her boss, Max (Joe Grisaffi) is a sympathetic character for whom I was certainly hoping would not get torn to shreds at the end of the film.
The bloodbath begins when Sissy is accidentally killed during one of Otis' alcoholic rages. While I do not want to give away details for one of the most original kills put to film, I am not joking in regard to my use of bloodbath. Emphasis on bath. The blood flies, and it flies for a long time.
When the town rallies together to stop Jacob, all bets are off. I have seen many gore-fests over the years, and the kills in this movie alone put 20 years of viewed kills to absolute shame.
The supernatural element to the story was an interesting angle as well. While motive is never fully given for the evil events that occur, it offers up a nice little twist at the end of the film.
While there is no shortage of somber moments in 'Jacob', there are also plenty of hilarious one-liners to liven the mood. Otis' party-buddy Earl (Jeremy James Douglas Norton) has, hands down, one of the best one-liners in the film that is sure to become popular once the film is released, while another particularly hilarious moment pops up during Jacob's reign of terror against his lynch mob.
Overall, I consider it a great privilege that I was able to see this film. It's a rare thing to find truly original films, and as Michael Biehn stated earlier in the evening "Big budget and big studio don't necessarily equal great movie." To me, this year's Splatterfest was a celebration of originality. Michael Biehn's "The Victim" certainly fit the bill, and the 'Evil Dead' series, which headlined the weekend, is a classic case of gory originality. "Jacob" is fiercely, intensely original and deserves to be recognized everywhere as a new horror classic.