Review: Jack Brooks – Monster Slayer


From the title and box art you know exactly the direction this movie is going in: comedy. As a general rule I find movies like this definitely hit or miss; either terribly geeky, full of ass-licking homage and generally irritating, i.e. ‘Dead and Breakfast’ or like this movie, witty, amusing and really capturing the essence of the horror comedy genre.

The plot of this movie follows the surreal story of Jack, a guy with some serious anger issues, as he tries to piece his life together. After witnessing the brutal murder of his family at the hands of a sasquatch type beast, Jack must try to readjust into real life. As part of his rehabilitation he must attend a chemistry class, taught by non other than Robert Englund, a class he shares with other misfits, including his overly irritating girlfriend. One day the professor comes in acting a little strange, the next the collage is over run by monsters!

Now as cool as the plot sounds, and overall it’s a real riot, I feel I must begin with a little criticism. The first 40 minutes of the movie do drag, really drag. The witty script and exaggerated character nuances keep the pace for say 15 minutes, but you can’t help noticing that, despite the title, there is a significant absence of monsters. However, stick with it as your perseverance will be rewarded as the second half of the movie is bang on the button; the script gets funnier, the characters really come into their own, and the action begins properly.

Monster slaying by title, and monster slaying by content. Once the movie gets into gear the gore effects look class, true 1980s style splatter and costumes. Apparently no CGI was used in any of the monster or gore effects, and with this considered they look fucking wicked. Proper cult, kind of weird, like something out of ‘Killer Clowns from Outer Space’, the detail in the monsters costumes make them look both menacing, disgusting as well as quite amusing. Englund plays a main part for a change, not just a cameo, and watching him in this movie will remind you why we all love him. He plays a boring old professor, and then a demon possessed lunatic, with both roles being quirky and very funny. To accompany the monsters there is the odd bit of blood and gore, all of which looks pretty cool. Although I always feel the harder the better, the gore in this movie, whilst being pretty tame, suits the feel of the film. There is nothing more than a couple of lacerations and the odd comedic impalement.

Overall, after a ridiculously slow start the movie turned on its heels and became fast paced and extremely enjoyable. If ever there was a movie to sit with mates and have a few beers and laughs to, then this is it. There is enough stomach churning grossness and dodgy monsters to keep the atmosphere going whilst the script and characters are interesting and in depth enough to keep you smiling. I can’t see any fan of horror not being impressed with this movie.

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