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Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer
DVD disk
10.21.2008 By: Jason Adams
Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer order
Director:
Jon Knautz

Actors:
Trevor Matthews
Robert Englund
Rachel Skarsten

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Jack Brooks is a plumber by day, community college student by night with severe anger issues that may or may not stem from the time he went camping with his family and they were viciously murdered by monsters. When his favorite professor becomes possessed by an ancient demon spirit and threatens his classmates, the young man may have finally found a healthy outlet to vent his rage.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Funny, unapologetic and splattered redÖthatís how I like my B-grade horror movies. So I was happy to hear early word last year that JACK BROOKS: MONSTER HUNTER was all of these things and more. And while the final product isnít a new classic, it was fun enough to stand out from the usual low budget monster movies.

You can tell the guys behind (and in front of) JACK BROOKS are fans of the genre and are just having a good time, as evidenced by the semi-campy spirit, biting sense of humor and fun creature design. I love that they went all-practical with the makeup and monsters, which is quite impressive with the final baddie whoís huge. When the mayhem kicks in it goes for the serious and gory kill, with plenty of creative touches. And Robert Englund, who is always a joy to watch, is the best heís been in years in this movie. He does some great comedic and physical acting as the possessed teacher and brings a serious legitimacy to JACK BROOKS with his presence alone.

I think the biggest loss with the film is that the title character just isnít that interesting. Trevor Matthews does fine acting-wise, but the story itself and the various subplots with his bitchy girlfriend, lousy therapist and dead end job are repetitive and seriously drag down the proceedings. The idea of a plumber with anger management issues who channels his rage by fighting monsters is good, but the movie takes a little too long to get where itís going and feels in need of some tightening up, despite being only 85 minutes already. Itís over an hour in before Brooks really begins to live up to his title and let loose with the slayer rage. If anything this movie feels like a prequel to a real monster hunting movie. However, it does it well enough that Iíd definitely watch the sequel.
THE EXTRAS
A surprisingly packed disc for this movie is just more evidence of the filmmakerís passion for the project.

Commentary by director Jon Knautz, actor Trevor Matthews, producer Patrick White and composer Ryan Shore: The guys joke about reading from their notes, but the familiarity between them, and their fanboy knowledge of good movies and commentaries, makes this a fun listen by some film fans who got to make the movie they wanted.

Behind the Scenes (50:06): A nice in-depth making of that covers pretty much all the ground youíd want it to. The filmmakers make comparison to early work by famous first directing projects like EVIL DEAD, DEAD ALIVE and even James Cameronís PIRAHNA II.

Creating the Monsters (15:20): One of the filmís major plusses is definitely the practical effects, costume and makeup that went in to creating the monsters. Here you get a look at how they made each creature, step by step. Some fun stuff.

Creating the Music (12:49): The score was fun, a little Danny Elfman-esque, and it was surprising to hear a full orchestra backing up such a small indie movie. This extra shows the process behind that, which mainly consisted of hiring and recording an orchestra in Slovakia to save money.

World Premiere (3:03): A quick video diary from the filmís debut at Sitges in Spain back in October of 2007.

Deleted Scenes (15:56): Five in total. Some more views in to Jackís background and life, but nothing too necessary.

You also get some Storyboard Comparisons, two Galleries and Trailers.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER is a fun watch overall, but itís not the new B-horror classic people have been searching for. However, it does a good enough job setting stuff up that a potential sequel could be the one. This single disc DVD has got plenty of stuff for horror fans and wannabe filmmakers. Genre fans should check it out.

Extra Tidbit: In some angles, star Trevor Matthews looks like Rob McElhenney aka Mac from ďItís Always Sunny in Philadelphia.Ē This is a shameless plug for that awesome, awesome show.
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