Anything for Jackson Blu-ray Review
Written by Robert Gold
Blu-ray released by RLJ Entertainment | Shudder
Directed by Justin G. Dyck
Written by Keith Cooper
2020, 97 minutes, Not Rated
Released on June 15th, 2021
Sheila McCarthy as Audrey
Julian Richings as Henry
Konstantina Mantelos as Shannon Becker
Josh Cruddas as Ian
Yannick Bisson as Rory
Lanette Ware as Det. Bellows
Henry and Audrey Walsh are a loving couple who miss their grandson and would do anything to spend more time with him. Following a tragic car accident that devastated their family, they are desperate to reclaim some of the happiness they once knew. To reconnect with the boy they will go through non-traditional means and will not be deterred no matter the cost. A pregnant woman, a police detective and an ancient book of spells all play a part in the Walshes’ quest for a family reunion.
Ordinarily I would open with a more detailed plot synopsis, but Anything for Jackson doesn’t lend itself to that approach. The story is very straightforward and the hook is deceptively simple but highly effective. The film jumps in full tilt and reveals its first surprise twist in the opening scene. From there we are treated to some creative storytelling, and while not revolutionary, it offers some refreshing originality that I am not about to risk spoiling.
The plot unfolds in a combination of contemporary scenes interspersed with a series of flashbacks that show how we got here. There are some truly haunting images that are deliberately spaced to keep the tension levels high. You want the Walsh plan to succeed, but each new wrinkle that could result in calamity will have you squirming in your seat. In all fairness, these old people are real selfish bastards playing with fire, but as antiheroes you can’t help but be curious what will happen if they succeed. Some of the supporting characters often behave in an irrational manner, but it all fits together by the end.
The cast are all on point, delivering solid performances that will keep you engrossed. Sheila McCarthy (The Umbrella Academy) and Julian Richings (Urban Legend) star as Audrey and Henry and manage to keep them likeable no matter how dark their actions. Konstantina Mantelos (A Christmas Crush) co-stars as the very pregnant Shannon Becker, the key to the Walshes’ goal, and she fills the character with palpable desperation and fear. Josh Cruddas (Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City) plays the distinctive Ian, who knows more about what’s going on than the old couple and tries to minimize their mistakes. Rounding out the cast is Lanette Ware (Christmas with a Prince) as Det. Bellows and Yannick Bisson (Another WolfCop) as Rory the snow-blower who cause Henry and Audrey plenty of trouble.
One of the biggest surprises about this movie is the pedigree of the filmmakers. Director Justin G. Dyck (A Puppy for Christmas) and writer Keith Cooper (A Very Country Christmas) make their first foray into the horror genre following a lengthy career making family-friendly holiday TV movies. Their ability to pivot so successfully into such spooky territory is promising and hopefully more than just a one-off. The characters are well-developed and the supernatural set-pieces highly effective. If possible, I highly recommend avoiding the trailer and official synopsis and going into this one blind. The ending is a bit muddled, but not enough so to spoil the whole experience. Anything for Jackson caught me by surprise and that is increasingly rare, so I can easily recommend adding this title to your collection and watching it as soon as possible.
Video and Audio:
Presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, picture quality is rock solid and pleasing. Colors are well-saturated and small-object detail is well defined. Black levels are rich while flesh tones appear natural throughout.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track packs a punch, giving the surround speakers a workout. The haunting score by composer John McCarthy (Love & Human Remains) benefits from the mix and is well-balanced with sound effects cues. Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.
There are no special features on this disc.
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