Jack Thurlowe, a popular magazine editor living in Los Angeles, has to come back to his hometown to help her mother to heal after a car crash where also his father died. Soon after his arrival, his childhood friend Shanda tries to help Jack coping with his loss, since he is in an emotional block, even when he does not want to admit it, partly because he was very close to his dad, and also because he is very soon to be a father himself.
Just after a few hours of staying together we can see that the relationship between Jack and his mother, Teresa, has always been tense, and that the recent loss has left her with damages beyond the physical type, making Jack’s temperament and a repressed resentment from her to clash and create a series of conflicts that become increasingly aggressive. The real problems however, start when in the middle of nightmares and hallucinations, Jack seems to be receiving messages from his deceased father, giving him hints that they might be secrets in his family that Jack never imagined, and that could make him question not only his apparently perfect life, but also his sanity.
There are lots of positive things in “Jack Goes Home”, but the one that stands out for me is the acting performances of the two leads, Rory Culkin (Scream 4, Intruders) effortlessly shows how Jack starts to brutally falling into the acceptance of his father’s death and at the same time has to deal with a lot of stuff that seems to be just waiting to pile up on him. Lin Shaye’s performance showed that she has a great acting range that most of the audience might not be aware of, specially the people that only know her from recent horror and comedy films. With her portrayal of Teresa we see a very cynical lady that also is very fragile and still, she has no problems to release her anger and resentment now that the world she knew has crumbled, and that at the same time she wants to protect Jack from digging about the past, she is eager to take him by the hand and let him fall into the abyss.
“Jack Goes Home” is not a film that I can recommend to just anyone, and i want to state right now that is not a real horror film despite what the trailer might trying to hint, I would even dare to say that it barely falls into the psychological thriller territory. Still, this film will resonate strongly with all of us that have dealt with a death in the family so sudden that will keep us in the denial stage for too long, and that makes this film worth watching more than once. The movie has several tense moments that are not broken by silly jump scares and manages to make us think about everything that is happening all the way to the end, an ending by the way, I think will divide the audiences,
The problem could be that while the pace is stable and never gets boring, you can get the feeling that it has not a very clear idea of all the themes that it was trying to cover or how to do it (besides themes of loss, grievances and suppressed resentments, of course), and I say that because at the end we are left with several unanswered questions, specially about some secondary characters, which brings me to another (minor) issue: The film has interesting characters, but there were some actors that felt underused, and were no more than a cameo, like in the case of Natasha Lyonne, I thought there was more to see on her story (and an unanswered question, too) but more than that, it was nice to see her in a very different character that the one we saw recently in “Antibirth” (you can read our review here) , but take that as a rant from one of her fans, same in the case of Nikki Reed.
“Jack Goes Home” was written and directed by Thomas Deker (know, among several other characters, for playing John Connor in tv’s “The Sarah Connor Chronicles”). In the cast we can see Rory Culkin, Lin Shaye, Daveigh Chase (The Ring, Donnie Darko), Louis Hunter and Nikki Reed (From the Twilight saga).
In the end, I liked the film a lot, and i think is worth debating the ending and some of the themes over a cup of coffee (I prefer beer, but hey, whatever works!), just do NOT go to see the film expecting tons of gore or rivers of blood, because there are pretty much non-existent. The film will be released on select theaters on October 14th and on VOD, courtesy of Momentum Pictures.