Jacob (2012)

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Lonely and disturbed Jacob Kell loved his little sister more than anything on earth. When tragedy strikes, Jacob retaliates the only way he knows how - and anyone who crosses his path will know there is no limit to his brutal vengeance. --TMDb
Grace Powell
Grace Powell
Dylan Horne
Dylan Horne
Travis Hester
Travis Hester
Shane Stewart
Shane Stewart
Dustin Lane
Dustin Lane
Review by Chad
Added: May 21, 2012
Jacob is a film that I have been looking forward to for some time now. You see, I watched Larry Carrell's first film - Game Over: The Secret Life of Game Store Clerks back in 2008 and loved it. A few years later, he sent me the script and some test footage for his upcoming film, and I thought that it sounded great. Mind you, that script and about three minutes of footage was all that I got to see, so I patiently waited for the day that the film was finished and ready for a viewing. Today was the day, so was the wait worth it? Did the film live up to the script's potential?

The film takes place back in the seventies, where we meet up with Otis (Larry Carrell), a woman-beating drunk who lives with his ol' lady Edith (Krystn Caldwell) and her kids Sissy (Grace Powell) and Jacob (Dylan Horne). Jacob is a huge mountain of a man with cold, unfeeling eyes who never speaks a word - aside from the occasional grunt while hearing voices in his head - and it's up to his little sister Sissy to keep him in check as she is the only person that he will respond to. Well, when Otis comes home in a drunken rage one night and starts beating up on poor Edith, Jacob has enough and almost kills him on the spot. Luckily, he is saved by Sheriff Andy (Leo D. Wheeler) and Deputy Billy (also played by Larry Carrell) before being thrown in jail for the night.

Well, Edith is your typical victim: she takes a beating and she still stands up for her man, so Otis is released from prison the next day. He celebrates his freedom by hitting up the local bar and getting tore up, and that is when he decides that Jacob needs a little lesson in respect after daring to put his hands on him. This doesn't go so well, and I don't want to spoil much more of the film, so let's just say that this leads to Jacob going on a murderous rampage after losing the one thing that he truly cares about.

Jacob lightly dabbles in the supernatural horror genre, but make no mistake about it: the film is a slasher at its core. We begin with an introduction to all of the characters and learn what makes them tick, and we quickly learn that something isn't quite right with Jacob - maybe it's due to that musty old book his now-deceased father found? See, Otis isn't the biological father of these children; no, their real father was shot down after going nuts and hacking up a bar full of people, and whatever it was that set daddy dearest off seems to be screwing with Jacob's mind as well. We meet the six main characters and see how they interact with one another, something tragic happens, and then it's on to the real meat of the movie where Jacob finally snaps and starts racking up the kills on those who wronged him and those who simply got in his way.

It is a slasher film, technically speaking, but it's not a mindless slasher flick. The characters are properly built up and everyone serves a purpose in the story beyond "another body on the pile", and we truly start to feel for these people. Sissy is an adorable little girl that we just want to scoop up and take away from there, while Jacob gets some sympathy points even when he is tearing animals to pieces to satisfy those voices in his head. We know that these two have led a hard life, so it is gut-wrenching when something bad happens to them and we cheer when Jacob gets his revenge.

Of course, being a slasher film, there are plenty of kills on display. Heads are crushed, bodies are impaled, guts are spilled, and a man is almost split vertically in two by a baseball bat / saw combo straight out of Dead Rising 2. The gore effects were great with the exception of a single kill that I wasn't a big fan of, but one weak kill alongside about ten great ones isn't exactly a deal-breaker in my book.

Making the film work out even better is the acting. Admittedly, it's not spectacular in every scene with every actor, but for the most part, it was great. Dylan Horne is a physically imposing guy as is, but coupled with his facial expressions and body language, he truly comes across as a monster to be reckoned with. Grace Powell is also damned good in her role, and even though she looks to be about ten years old, she put a lot of adult actresses to shame. She had to carry all of her scenes with Jacob since his character doesn't speak, but she made it work. Big thumbs up to both of them.

I also enjoyed writer / director Larry Carrell in his dual roles. Yes, he plays the good cop as well as the town drunk, and he pulls off both roles rather well. In fact, there is one scene where he arrests himself, and the editing used to bring this scene to life is seamless: at a glance, you wouldn't be able to tell that the two characters were actually played by the same guy. The similarities are explained away as the two being brothers, but the characters couldn't be any more different: Billy is a good guy with a lot of frustration and anger towards his womanizing, wife-beating brother, while Otis is the kind of guy that you're going to hate two minutes after meeting him. Both roles were handled perfectly.

Michael Biehn also shows up in a small role as the father of those two children - it's more than a cameo, but he is far from the star of the film. He brings a little humor to the role, but he is also damned good when he goes off the deep end and starts hacking people to pieces in that bar. His minor role made the film even more enjoyable than it already was, and he definitely stood out.

Jacob is currently making the festival rounds, and I don't see it having a problem finding a home on DVD down the road. It is a great horror film with memorable characters and plenty of carnage for the gorehounds to salivate over, and even though it is an indie flick, you won't be able to tell by the content on your screen. I am not well-versed in the technical side of filmmaking, but I do know that the movie looks great - you can tell that it was shot with professional equipment, and it doesn't have that low-budget "look" that a lot of direct-to-video flicks have. There were some audio issues in the rough cut that I viewed, but I have been told that these will be fixed sooner rather than later.

Bottom line? Fans of blood-soaked horror with inventive kills and intriguing characters should not miss this movie. It's not perfect - again, some of the acting was spotty in certain scenes - but the good far outweighs the bad here, and any slasher fan looking for a good time in front of the tube will certainly agree. 8/10.
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