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Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer [Blu-ray] [Import]

David Fox , Daniel Kash , Jon Knautz    Unrated   Blu-ray
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SEQUEL! SEQUEL! WE MUST HAVE A SEQUEL! Jan. 23 2011
I won't go into details about the plot here, that's been covered by other reviewers extensively.

A copy of this film sits beside another great comedy / horror - Army Of Darkness. While Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer doesn't take as many risks as that film did, it certainly delivers a good time to people who love the horror comedy genre. With a fairly inexperienced cast - except for Robert Englund, a love of foam rubber, exciting directing style, and a story that works better than your average horror movie, this film surprised me.

The performances are energetic, fun, and when they cross over into camp, they don't try to be too serious. The special effects are very well done considering the materials and the actors know how to sell the situations they find themselves in. When things are too rubbery to believe, they push things a little further so they become intentionally comical.

These film makers seem to realize something that Hollywood has forgotten. There's room for serious camp in the film industry, and when it's done well, it is just as entertaining as anything else to the right crowd. Aside from that, there are plenty of young actors in this film that I think we'll see a great deal of in the future.

Bottom line? If you're a fan of the Evil Dead series, liked Return Of The Living Dead, or enjoy other classic camp in general, this DVD belongs on your shelf.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Low Budget, but competant and fun! Dec 15 2009
Jack Brooks Monster Slayer is directed by Jon Knautz and starring local Ottawa (my hometown) actor Trevor Mathews. I could go on about the tecnical good and bad of the film and bore you with details that as a viewer you probably wouldn't care about, but I'm not going to do that. The bottom line is, this movie is a low budget production, and for a low budget production, Jack Brooks Monster Slayer is a genre film worth picking up. I've seen a ton of low budget films over the years, and very few can proudly sit on the same shelves as some our cherrished genre icons and masterpieces. Jack Brooks can! It may be far from a masterpiece, but it holds a charm that is found in most 80s classics. Yes the film has a very 80s feel to it, and if this were made 20+ years ago, it would definatley be one of the best of it's time. Any fan of the genre should own a copy of this film.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A funny, goofy, gory time! Nov. 16 2008
This movie is a horror-comedy hybrid about a simple-minded plumber named Jack Brooks who as a child witnessed the horrific slaying of his family to a monster in the woods. 20 years later, Brooks comes across another monster in the form of his science teacher (Robert Englund) who transforms into a hideous creation.

This is a great little horror film, reminiscent of the 80's glory years of horror, also strongly reminded me of the Evil Dead movies. The concept is totally outrageous and the cheese factor enormous however there's lots to enjoy here for the devoted horror fan.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bona fide horror comedy dud Nov. 19 2008
By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
A plumber with serious anger management issues fighting monsters -with Robert Englund thrown in for good measure. That sounds like a pretty good formula for success. Unfortunately, Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer pretty much lays an egg. It's a movie without any soul and very little identity. I hate to call it a horror comedy because it fails on both counts. Sure, there's gore aplenty, but it's all so over the top as to be more pitiful than anything else. On top of that, it sort of annoyed this devoted horror fan to hear the filmmakers say they chose this genre for their first feature film basically because there would be a ready market in place no matter how badly they might screw the whole thing up. In other words, they thought a horror film was much easier to make than, say, a drama. Oh, they also thought it would be a lot of fun to play around with all the special effects and makeup. Obviously, I have to question their commitment and level of respect for the genre I love most in the world. In fact, I would argue that the film actually ends up making a mockery of the entire horror genre. And comedy? Please. I don't remember even one remotely funny scene in the entire film. The whole thing's laughable, but it's not funny.

So just who is Jack Brooks? Well, he's a plumber, and he's taking a night school science class because his incredibly annoying girlfriend somehow talked him into it. Jack (Trevor Matthews) has some issues - having watched his family slaughtered by a troll (yeah, you read that right: a troll) back when he was still a kid, he is prone to intense outbursts of anger (borne of his guilt over running for his life while his parents and sister were brutally killed). He's seeing a therapist, but let's just say that no personal breakthrough seems likely any time soon.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  92 reviews
23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jack Brooks isn't the only one who needs a counsellor, I'm conflicted too. Oct. 9 2008
By Karen Shaub - Published on Amazon.com
Perhaps if I had stumbled over this film as a rental first instead of buying it outright sight unseen, brand new at Best Buy I might feel more kindly disposed towards it. "WTF?" you are no doubt saying at this point. "You've given it 4 stars and you're saying that you don't like the film?" Well yeah, kinda sorta. I made the mistake of buying it on impulse based on the rave reviews on the cover, the blurb on the back, and some cover art that made it look like the greatest thing since RE-ANIMATOR, EVIL DEAD 2, and ARMY OF DARKNESS. And I can't afford to throw my money away like that, but I took the chance anyway. Needless to say the film didn't deliver what I had been expecting/hoping for, which was something along the lines of a story built around a character like the one John Ratzenberger (Cliff Clavin from CHEERS) played in HOUSE 2. You know, the electrician who is also an "adventurer" on the side? He takes one look inside the walls of the house and drawls matter of factly, "Yeah, it looks like you have some sort of alternate universe in there." Of course I know better than to go into any film with preconceived notions like that, but in this case my mind just ran away with me and I couldn't help it.

The film stars Robert Englund in one of his best performances in ages as a night school science teacher, Professor Crowley, who has in his class our title character Jack Brooks. Now Jack (played by Trevor Mathews who also co-wrote the story on which the screenplay is based) is just loaded with History. It seems at a very tender age he witnessed his whole family's slaughter at the claws and fangs of some sort of man/monster while they were out camping in the woods. The only thing that saved little Jack's life was the fact that he ran. Running wound up taking control of the rest of his life. He ran from all of the important things in life only to have his pent up rage at his own perceived cowardice erupt at unexpected moments. Anyhoo, one night after class the kindly professor asks Jack (a plumber by trade) if he could possibly stop by his house and help him with a problem he's having with his pipes. (Get your minds out of the gutter, that's not the kind of pipes I meant.) Jack's got nothing better to do, so that very night he checks it out. It seems simple enough at first, but isn't that the way it is with every plumbing problem? Before you know it all matter of disgusting matter is hitting the fan and Jack has to order a new gasket and come back in a couple of days. But by then it will be too late! For no sooner has he left than than a noxious ooze seeps from the ground and its fumes start turn the sweet ol' professor into a meat craving monster!

This flick has an awful lot going for it. For one thing there is (as far as I can tell) absolutely no CGI anywhere! Everything is done the good old fashioned way--with prosthetics, puppets, and men in monster suits. Professor Crowley literally erupts into a tentacled creature from hell that sucks the life out its victims and turns them into flesh eating beasts themselves. MONSTER SLAYER is, as it claims to be, a tribute to some of the best flicks from the 1980s, but yet it just doesn't do it for me. The humor it claims to have simply isn't there for one thing, and for me that is a very, very big point indeed. The 1980s was the Golden Age of horror comedy and a large part of the appeal of those flix WAS the humor, whether it was the droll wit of RE-ANIMATOR or the "splat-shtick" approach of Sam Raimi in EVIL DEAD 2. And what's worse JACK BROOKS is a very bland hero! I think the role practically screams for someone who can portray an ordinary everyday man and then rip away all that blandness and channel the comic book spirit of Bruce Campbell when the situation calls for it!

I don't know, I just don't know. Perhaps when I watch this film again in a few months all the wonderful parts, the old school effects and so forth, will triumph over my disappointment. That's why I've given it 4 stars instead of 3. Perhaps they intend to make a series out of this character. That has some great possibilities. Oh no! Don't start thinking about what COULD be again, it will only lead to disappointment.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly entertaining throwback to the 80s Nov. 6 2009
By Dave. K - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product

**** Out of 5

Release Date- August 15th, 2008

Running Time- 85-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- John Ainslie & Jon Knautz

Director- Jon Knautz

Starring- Trevor Matthews, Rachel Skarsten, Daniel Kash, Ashley Bryant, David Fox and Robert Englund as Professor Gordon Crowley

Going into Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer I had rather low expectations, while the movie looked fairly decent these low budget movies these days are very much hit or miss unlike days of past when these movies were often the strongest the horror genre had. But I have to say Jack Brooks was actually a really entertaining movie that was a fun throw back to low budget horror flicks of the 80s and the influence of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead is quite obvious, which is a good thing.

I'm not really a fan of CGI, but I can tolerate it when used a little bit, but I hate when low budget horror flicks use CGI since it almost always looks horrid. I've seen a few movies I enjoyed, but the poor CGI would lower my rating. Jack Brooks goes back to the way these movies should be made without any CGI and fans of that era should at least be pleased with that even if you don't like the movie.

The biggest complaint about the movie was the slow pace, but I disagree with that. While Jack Brooks isn't the fastest paced movie I have ever seen I thought the main character was interesting enough to keep my interest until the action kicked in. Jack Brooks may not be a perfect movie, but it is a lot of fun and an excellent throw back to the 80s. A lot of the times the filmmakers tend to try too hard and it often comes out as a mess with a good idea, but where other movies might fail I personally felt Jack Brooks pretty much got it all right.

The screenplay by John Ainslie & Jon Knautz was highly entertaining; this isn't meant to be an Oscar winning material, but it's meant to be fun and the script gets it right. The character of Jack Brooks played by Trevor Matthews is an interesting character and is fairly well developed as well. The rest of the characters aren't as interesting, but they all serve their purpose. While the script is a homage to 80s horror it never comes across as a fanboy script, which often is what ruins these movies.

Co-writer Jon Knautz makes his feature film debut and it's a movie he can be proud of. Jack Brooks is meant to simply be a fun movie and it always is just that. Like I stated earlier some have complained about the pacing being too slow, but I disagree. Even with the lack of action Knautz always keeps the movie interesting and the pacing never lags. I suppose Jack Brooks could have benefited from more action, but in the end I felt it all worked out well. The final act is a bit over the top, but works well. Even in movies not meant to be realistic sometimes it can still be too over the top, but Knautz makes it work. There isn't much suspense, but I don't think that was the goal by the director, but the action scenes is well done and the comedy aspect adds to the fun level.

The performances were fairly good with Trevor Matthews and Robert Englund being the strongest of the cast. Englund is a cult Icon due to the success of A Nightmare on Elm Street, but at times he's been limited by some poor movies, but this stands among one of his best movies in quite some time and it shows in his performance. Trevor Matthews shows some great potential and I really look forward to seeing him in other roles.

When all is said and done Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer is highly entertaining, but like any movie not everyone will like it. Fans of 80s horror flicks are the main audience for this movie.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This "Monster Slayer" Delivers Unexpected Suspense And Great Perfomances--Really! Oct. 25 2008
By K. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
As someone who has watched countless "bad" horror movies through the years (many DVDs packaged by Troma and Anchor Bay leap straight to mind), I've come to know what to expect. Just because they're "bad" doesn't mean they aren't enjoyable on some level--they usually play as dumb fun. But, there is a certain laziness inherent in many of these films. It's as if everyone involved knows they are making a stinker, so they go for the cheap laughs and gratuitous gore. They don't take themselves seriously, so the scripts and the actors can be groan-worthy. What do you think I expected from "Jack Brooks Monster Slayer?" (Yes, Anchor Bay). I expected a whole lot less than this nifty little film delivered.

Yes, the plot is a bit silly. (I won't even go into it, the title of the film is sufficient). Yes, the creatures are superficially more laughable than scary. Accepting these limitations, however, "Monster Slayer" was a big surprise. The biggest surprise was in the performances. This film is filled with believable actors--most noteworthy being Trevor Matthews. Matthews, as plumber Jack Brooks, delights with a deadpan humor and actual character development. Brooks has a bit of an anger management problem, and Matthews nails the intensity to give early scenes a real impact. When he kicks into hero mode, I was right there with him.

The film builds to a climax involving a dozen characters trapped within a high school, and this is done with genuine suspense. The score is terrific and adds to the drama. In this half of the film, in particular, the screenplay excellently balances silliness and horror. I laughed when appropriate, but the film also delivered effective action sequences and a sense of real danger. I am genuinely surprised to be recommending "Monster Slayer," but I most certainly am--particularly if you're a fan of the genre. So give this unassuming film a try. And I hope to see Matthews again, I see real breakout potential! KGHarris 10/08.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesomely enjoyable Oct. 7 2008
By N. Durham - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer is by and far one of the most enjoyable original titles to come from Anchor Bay, and it's easy to see why. Co-producer and co-writer Trevor Matthews stars as the title character, a plumber with some huge anger issues who witnessed the brutal murder of his family by monsters when he was a child. Along with his annoying girlfriend (Birds of Prey's Rachel Skarsten), Jack is taking night classes, but sadly his professor (genre stalwart Robert Englund) has accidentally unleashed a demonic force that is horribly transforming him, and soon enough it's up to Jack to put his rage to some monster-slaying use. With its tongue planted firmly in cheek, Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer is an awesomely enjoyable and bloody treat. The only real flaw with the film is that it's too short, but there is ripe potential here for Jack's monster slaying to continue. Hopefully, it will.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GOOD TIME CAPSULE Jan. 31 2010
By Kenneth Sohl - Published on Amazon.com
I had heard good things about this flick online, but being a long-time watcher of all manner of horror and monster movies, the description on the DVD rental case made me sneer in cynicism. The thought of watching yet another no-talent mess filled with pandering humor and the usual (yawn) gore and (yuck) CGI FX trying real hard to be another "Re-animator", "Evil Dead 2" or "Tremors" just annoyed me to no end, so I put it back. The next time I was there, I must have been in just the right mood, because I recalled having enjoyed a fairly recent one of these called "Feast", which was typical, but outrageously so to such a degree that it elevated itself to being a must-see for genre lovers, so, I rented "Jack Brooks". Boy, am I glad I gave it a chance.

First of all, don't expect a hectic pace from start to finish as in "Feast" or "Evil Dead 2". The plot for this one unfolds more like a typical B-movie, starting with scenes that establish the characters and situation, then escalates the horror elements as the story progresses towards the finale, a story structure more like "Re-animator" or "From Beyond", but with the accent a little more on the humorous side than those 2 worthy films. However, "Jack Brooks" lacks the feeling of inventiveness that those movies had. Speaking of '80s horror classics, the good news here is no cheap CGI effects, but honest-to-goodness monster suits and make-up that you can sink your teeth into. Someone finally got it right when they decided to give us something real rather than a cartoon.

Plot summary: when a child, Jack Brooks witnessed the murder of his family by supernatural creatures, so as an adult, he still has serious anger issues stemming from the trauma of that childhood incident. While going to college with his shrew of a girlfriend and studying under a geeky professor(Robert Englund) and surrounded by idiotic fellow students, he regularly visits a counselor over these aforementioned anger issues. Bear in mind that, despite my descriptions of these characters, they are portrayed mostly realistically by the cast, with a minimum of slapstick. When the professor gets possessed by an evil, supernatural entity, Jack finally comes face-to-face with his childhood fears, and becomes the meanest monster-killin' machine this side of Rotor-rooter.

Englund takes an effectively comic turn as the professor, and much has been made about his performance so I need not get into it; suffice to say that it is very good, although faint echoes of the roach alien from "Men in Black" come to mind. The real star of this movie, though, is the actor who played Jack (his name escapes me. The special features section of the DVD indicates that he was one of the producers thrown in to play Jack at the last minute). Some people here have posted that his acting was bad, because he didn't act like Bruce Campbell or some such. GOOD! The filmmakers have attempted to keep an original feel to their movie and Jack has a personality all his own, one that you can believe, with no quirky, over-the-top shenanigans. From the hollow look in his eyes when he rages to the slightly lost look when confronted with the complexities of day-to-day life that threaten to overwhelm him, this actor is absolutely convincing as the type of guy who might show up at your door to unclog your sink, yet he still manages to amuse, even eliciting a couple of outright laughs from me. Exuding an aura of "everyman", he eventually recruits audience sympathy without ever turning into a clown. We are clearly supposed to see the world from HIS viewpoint, where it is everyone ELSE who is crazy. While Brooks is played straight-faced, it is all the other characters who are played campy. As such, Bruce Campbell would have been woefully wrong for this role, as this is not some attempt to reproduce "Evil Dead 2", and I applaud the producers for taking the high-road and shooting for originality. Also, special mention must go to the actress who wittily, and with subtle camp, portrayed his very irritating girlfriend. The climax itself, while entertaining, feels derivative of some of the more forgettable '80s monster flicks such as "the Brain", or "the Gate". In fact, the whole movie has the feeling of an "origin" story, but is good enough that I look forward to seeing sequals. For this reason, I feel this to be a 4-star movie, but I give it a 5 just to offset the low ratings given by some other reviewers who can't seem to get a horror-comedy that cleverly evokes smiles rather than cheap "laughs", or who can't appreciate a nuanced performance but must have extreme facial contortions as a sign of "zaniness".

Ultimately, when dealing with low-budget B-flicks, one shouldn't expect something that will change the face of film making (although it isn't unheard of). Bear in mind what this is, a cheap but amusing little tribute to the '80s B-movie done with heart, and you will find yourself pleasantly surprised. Highly recommended for genre fans.
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