Anything for Jackson
anything for jackson | justin g. dyck | keith cooper | sheila mccarthy | julian richings | konstantina mantelos | haunted | ritual | haunted house | ghost | ghosts | demon | demons | canada | josh cruddas | yannick bisson | lanette ware | claire cavalheiro | kaitlyn leeb
Film: Anything for Jackson
Director: Justin G. Dyck
Writer: Keith Cooper
Starring: Sheila McCarthy, Julian Richings and Konstantina Mantelos
This was another movie that I was hearing a lot of buzz as being one of the better horror films from 2020. I made this a point to check out and I should give credit to Mr. Watson, Marknado and others for putting this on to my radar. After reading the synopsis, I figured I’d go ahead and make this a Featured Review on the podcast as well. The synopsis that I read was a bereaved Satanist couple kidnap a pregnant woman so they can use an ancient spellbook to put their dead grandson’s spirit into her unborn child, but end up summoning more than they bargained for.
Much as this synopsis states, the older couple are Audrey (Sheila McCarthy) and her husband Henry Walsh (Julian Richings). This movie is strategic in syncing up a happy song as they go about their normal morning. It all takes a turn when someone arrives and Henry goes to bring them inside. This person is Shannon Becker (Konstantina Mantelos). She’s been kidnapped and she’s pregnant. Henry offers to not to go work that day to help Audrey, but she reminds him to not change their routine.
As he does go to leave, Rory (Yannick Bisson) shows up to plow the snow from their driveway. It takes some convincing, but Henry gets him to leave. They’ve soundproofed the room Shannon is being kept, but they still don’t want to take any chances. Henry does make a mistake at work when he doesn’t stick to the plan when an agitated patient causes him to slip up in what he tells his receptionist. It should be pointed out, Henry is a doctor and Shannon was his patient. He was the one that informed her that she was pregnant.
The reason she’s been taken is that they want to put their deceased grandson, Jackson’s (Daxton William Lund) soul into the baby that Shannon is carrying. They got the idea as they’re part of a cult of Satanists that meets at the local library. Henry had inquired about an ancient book that contains the spell from another member, Ian (Josh Cruddas). Ian doesn’t realize that Henry tracked this book down and they’ve been using it.
This older couple performs the ritual and they see Jackson. It looks like something smashes him though and a large entity with a bird skull appears. Audrey is convinced that the spell worked, but they start to see spirits throughout the house. Some are quite eerie and terrifying. They mettle with forces they fully don’t understand and brought in entities that are much stronger and terrifying than they expected. A Detective Bellows (Lanette Ware) is looking into Shannon’s disappearance and Henry’s said some things that are leading her closer to them. Will they be able to finish what they started or will everything come crashing down around them?
That is where I’m going to leave my recap for this movie. Where I want to start is that I really love the premise of the movie. What is interesting is that we have this couple of older Satanists. They weren’t always a part of this cult, but have converted due to tragedies that have befallen them. They think they can bring back their grandson by following this new religion. That is completely believable to me. They were pretty well to do on top of that so they could afford to get the book they now have in their possession. We can even see that Audrey and Henry aren’t bad people. They’re doing a bad thing due to grief that has struck their family, which I could believe.
What I like even more is that this movie is showing us how hard doing things like this would be. Audrey is able to do easy spells, but they’re in over their head with what they’re doing with this major one. They don’t fully complete it either so they have some terrifying things that are happening. It is too much for them and they need to involve Ian who has been studying this for most of his younger life it would seem. It also is hard to get away with committing crimes. When the pressure is on, Henry makes mistakes that create a path for Detective Bellows. This works for the believability for this movie in my opinion.
I did watch this movie with Jaime and I felt bad during a stretch where the Satanists are holding a meeting. They’re doing a legitimate prayer that she started to recite, but it is bastardize version of it. This made her uncomfortable, which made me feel bad as she was, raised Catholic. Personally, I love that touch. When you can incorporate things like demons come out at 2:30 in the morning, or around about then, as it is inverted of when Jesus passed away or altering normal prayers, that type of care when taken really just ticks boxes for me. I also love horror movies that look into religions like we get here.
Where I think I’ll take this next would be the scares. This is mostly coming from the different ghostly entities. This might be a bit of a spoiler, but they’re all stuck in purgatory. The ritual doesn’t work quite like they thought it would and we get some really great scares. Some would be classified as jump-scares. I really like what they do with the flossing ghost, Marianne Sawchuk, as well as the trick or treat ghost, Ai Barrett. Most all of this is done with practical effects which was quite creepy. There is some CGI here, but none of it looked bad to me. This was really there to enhance what was needed. I was spooked quite a few times if I’m honest.
The acting should be next up. McCarthy and Richings are just great in their roles. They feel like this nice, old couple that have gotten mixed up in something that they don’t know enough about. They’re believable and when things mess up, it makes a lot of sense. They just fit perfect there. Mantelos is solid as well. She is attractive and I really like her performance as this soon to be mother. It was unplanned and it is scary. We see though that it could be something that turns her life around before she was taken. She looks terrified and she does some great things as a captive trying to survive. Cruddas is really good in his secondary role along with Bisson, Ware and the rest of the cast. Shout outs to all of the ghosts as well, they really make the sense creepy with their performances and looks.
For the last thing here that I’ll go over briefly would be the soundtrack. The opening song worked for the dichotomy of the scene. Throughout I’d say that the soundtrack also fit for what was needed and the sound design really helps to make things creepy. What is interesting is that at times, this makes some of the scenes scary, especially when using the concept of purgatory on top of that.
So now with that said, this movie was really good and I’m glad again that I didn’t sleep on this one. I really like the concept that we get here and the casting of McCarthy and Richings in this role works. I’m a sucker for horror movie that plays with the idea of religion like we get here. The rest of the actors really do a great job in their roles. This had some scares that got me and I think that effects along with the sound design really help there. I’d rate this movie as really good, bordering on great. This is one I’ll be looking forward to revisiting and is another contender for my end of year list.
My Rating: 9 out of 10