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Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

After witnessing the brutal murder of his family when he was just a young boy, Jack Brooks is
left with an unquenchable fury. Now working as a plumber, Jack attempts to fix his Professor s
plumbing, only to unknowingly awake an ancient evil. Prof. Crowley becomes possessed and
starts a slow, gruesome transformation into the depths of evil. Only then does Jack realize that
he can t run from his past, and quickly discovers the true purpose of his inner rage.


A delirious performance by horror vet Robert (Nightmare on Elm Street) Englund and the filmmakers' predilection for old-school monster suits over CGI help to make the Canadian indie horror-comedy Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer an enjoyable and entertaining alternative to the current rash of relentlessly grim fright fare. As played by co-producer Trevor Mathews, Jack Brooks is no barrel-chested pulp hero, but rather an aimless small-town slacker with a hair-trigger temper (the result of childhood trauma involving his family's death at the hands of a monster). Plagued on all sides by a nagging girlfriend, a hapless shrink and a dead-end job as a plumber, Jack seems destined for mediocrity--until his night school professor (an terrific, unfettered comic turn by Englund) unearths an ancient evil and begins to change into a ravenous, slobbering creature, thus giving Jack both a purpose and an outlet for his anger issues. Director Jon Knautz's feature debut pays loving homage to all manner of boyish pop-culture touchstones, from Marvel Comics and Ray Harryhausen epics to the early works of fellow do-it-yourselfers like Sam Raimi, and if his set up feels belabored in its telling, he delivers the goods once Jack straps on his plumbing toolkit to square off against the monster-fied Englund. Inventive and frequently laugh-out-loud funny, Jack Brooks is one potential franchise series that actually deserves a follow up film. The DVD includes commentary by Knautz, Mathews and members of the production team, as well as lengthy featurettes on the film, its soundtrack and the monster FX. Deleted scenes, conceptual art galleries and the original trailer are also included on the disc. --Paul Gaita

Stills from Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer (click for larger image)

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Trevor Matthews, Robert Englund, Daniel Kash, Rachel Skarsten, James A. Woods
  • Directors: Jon Knautz
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: ANCHOR BAY
  • DVD Release Date: October 7, 2008
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001C0NMU2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,128 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Karen Shaub on October 9, 2008
Format: DVD
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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dave. K VINE VOICE on November 6, 2009
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )

**** 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.
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Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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.
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