Sympathetic and Scary: Our Review of ‘Anything For Jackson’ on Blu-Ray

Posted in Blu-Ray/DVD, Movies by - June 25, 2021
Sympathetic and Scary: Our Review of ‘Anything For Jackson’ on Blu-Ray

Grief can push us to some pretty crazy places…

The horror genre is honestly one of the ones that have been mined to death with the least possible amount of surprises…until now that is.  Anything For Jackson is a disarming shocker of a film that is hard to forget as it scares us in more ways than one, giving us something humanistic…and terrifying.

After a tragic car accident that took their grandson’s life, Audrey and Henry (Shelia Jackson and Julian Richlings) are simply unable to go on without him.  Following the guidance of their ancient spell book, the elderly couple decide to abduct a young pregnant woman (Konstantina Mantelos) with the intention of performing a ‘reverse exorcism’ to channel their grandson’s spirit from beyond and inside her unborn child.   However when it becomes clear the ritual has called upon more than one spirit, the couple realize that they have summoned more than they bargained for and put an end to the evil entity that they’ve invoked.

It’s rare to get surprised in this genre, but Anything For Jackson manages to do exactly that by giving us something emotionally believable and incredibly fun at the exact same time.

Director Justin G. Dyck really maximizes his settings as our loveable grandparents home becomes a setting of some genuine terror.  The film looks good and does a great job of putting our duo who are seemingly both the villains AND the ones we’re sympathizing with in some fantastic set ups.

The bulk of the film takes place in the house and as the narrative moves along at a brisk pace we not only see the set up but also the back story that got this trio to this state in the first place.  It’s all genuinely scary because for our two leads it comes from a totally believable place of guilt and the insane places that it can push us all.  Dyck takes us through a horror movie without question, but I can’t remember the last time we cared this much about the primary characters in a story like this.  It’s a horror movie where we’re genuinely emotionally invested in all the characters involved as we ride the spectrum of emotions from genuine terror to more than its fair share of a little dead pan humor.  On paper it’s all ridiculous, but in practice it’s so believably nuts that you can’t help but get absorbed into the story.

While Julian Richlings is certainly a veteran of the horror genre, but he has a real character to play here and we see some very honest, all be it misguided motivations for everything that is happening throughout the film.  He never gets enough credit for being a kick ass character actor and deftly able leading man.  He may have been born in the UK but is one of Canada’s national acting treasures and no one can tell us any different.  217 on screen credits simply can’t be wrong.

Right beside Julian for this ride is yet another Canadian icon in Shelia McCarthy.  She does so well as Audrey here as the grief stricken grandmother who is more than a little confused but knows all too well that she’s WAY over her head.  The chemistry between these two actors is really what makes the movie work as they feel incredibly genuine in everything that they do.  It’s weird to see a horror movie where we like ALMOST all of the characters, but they all make it work.  Josh Cruddas is great as our maniac demonic priest while Konstantina Mantelos understands the ‘Scream Queen’ ‘Final Girl’ vibe that she’s embodying here.  Two grieving and well meaning people have for all intents and purposes unleashed a cavalcade of demons from which escape is a damn near impossibility.

The picture and sound on the BD are first rate as expected but sadly there are no special features.

It’s rare to get sympathetic AND scary in the same movie, and that’s why Anything For Jackson actually works as well as it does.  It keeps us guessing and more importantly it keeps us terrified as we see what the costs of grief can unleash on the world.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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