Saturday, November 01, 2008

"Basement Jack" review

Basement Jack (2008)

Director: Michael Shelton
Writer: Brian Patrick O'Toole

Eric Peter-Kaiser ... Jack Riley
Michele Morrow ... Karen Cook
Sam Skoryna ... Chris Watts
Lynn Lowry ... Mrs. Riley
Tiffany Shepis ... Officer Armando
Noel Gugliemi ... Detective Anderson
Nic Nac ... Ted The Delivery Man
Nathan Bexton ... The Manager
Joel Brooks ... Officer Wytynek

I was sent this DVD screener. "Basement Jack" is about a guy named Jack who hangs out in basements. He enjoys slaughtering families since his mom treated him so horribly growing up. He likes to start his killing sprees from the basement and work his way up. One of the survivors from a previous family massacre is trying to track him down and tell anyone who'll listen that there is a deranged madman with a basement fetish stalking their town. Of course the imbecilic police don't want to hear any nonsense about basement weirdos and their homicidal tendencies. It all ends with carnage and mayhem as Jack makes his way out of the basement and proceeds to purge his recurring mother nightmares through a healthy dose of chopped limbs and spilled guts.

"Basement Jack" has all the makings of a good horror flick. It has a cool title which brought to mind memories of another madman named Jack. No, not the ripper but "Violence Jack". It was a compelling story about a guy dug out from the rubble who enjoys killing people. I was hoping "Basement Jack" would be a similar tale of those who enjoy violence for the sake of violence. Alas, it was not to be.

Basement Jack has issues. Mommy issues. The movie hammers it home that the reason all this slaughter is happening is that Jack's mom was a reprehensible beast of a woman who enjoyed torturing her son. Even though the mom was played by the great Lynn Lowry, ("Shivers"), I was getting bored to tears with Jack's backstory. Monsters don't need a reason to kill people. They don't even need to like it. It's just something they do. Having your slasher, (who looks like Rob Zombie), flashback to his wretched childhood is not what good times are made of.

Of course the big point against "Basement Jack" is that it's not really scary. Most of the movie takes place during a fierce storm as Jack's inner psycho blossoms when the lighting comes out. But after you've heard two dozen lightning strikes it starts to get pretty comical. For some reason, the movie is obsessed with explaining away every mystery as to why Jack likes to kill. Whether it is lighting or a hatred for the family unit, it really doesn't matter much to the viewer. Just let Jack be all the movie psycho he can be and stop with all of the unnecessary analysis.

On the plus side, Jack did hack his way through many unsuspecting dolts. Tiffany Shepis shows up as one of the cops long enough to meet up with Jack and his sharp knife. There are some decent gore scenes but nothing too outrageous. Overall, "Basement Jack" is a competently made B-flick with a few good scenes. If you're in dire need of a basement loving slasher, you should check it out. Otherwise, you can lock the door and leave Jack in the basement.

SCORE: 2 out of 4 lighting strikes


thebonebreaker said...

I've never heard of this one. . .
[Guess I know why, after reading your review] :-)

The Vicar of VHS said...

Hi Doc--talk about synchronicity; I saw this one recently and reviewed it at MMMMMovies last week. Looks like I got a *bit* more enjoyment out of it than you did. :) I thought it was better than many many movies that already have distribution deals, and the character of The Manager made me interested to see the first film in the projected trilogy, "Evilution." Apparently they're developing a third, "Necropolitan," that will be all about the Manager. Which is fine by me.

Dr. Gore ( said...


Synchronicity indeed. Something tells me it was no accident. The manager character had that sneering know-it-all attitude that made me want to shave his annoying sideburns off. I don't have your zeal to see more of him in action. Although something tells me synchronicity will strike again and I may be watching his evilution very soon.

Sigh-its-fiction said...

Not a good film. Saw it at Fangoria. After I heard gossip the filmmakers are in legal trouble for stealing the character and stuff, and that would suck, because they said they were "indie" filmmakers. Might explain why this film is not being seen anywhere.