Canada. 2020. Horror.
97 min.
Director: Justin G. Dyck
Cast: Julian Richings (Henry), Sheila McCarthy (Audrey), Konstantina Mantelos (Becker)

Anything for a loved one.

Losing a loved one is one of the most painful moments that a person can experience in their life. The impotence of facing the reality that there will be no more moments to share with that person who left is something that many cannot overcome. But imagine having the possibility of being able to bring that being back to life. Although it is supernaturally, it is something that many people would risk everything to have that opportunity. Revising this situation with a supernatural approach is the origin of Shudder‘s new original production, Anything for Jackson, directed by Justin G. Dyck.

Not your every day grandparents.

Sheila McCarthy and Julian Richings - Anything for Jackson (2020)
Sheila McCarthy and Julian Richings – Anything for Jackson (2020)

Henry, a prominent doctor, and his wife Audrey are an old couple apparently like any other. In their spare time, they are part of a satanic cult and decide to kidnap a pregnant patient of Henry. His goal is to bring his grandson Jackson back to life through an ancient book of black magic. They perform a sorcery spell in which they hope that Jackson’s soul can possess Becker’s unborn child’s body. But this dark magic has unexpected consequences. Hanry and Audrey just let the door open for any suffering soul or demons looking for a path to return to the world of the living.

A clever script. Great acting.

Julian Richings - Anything for Jackson (2020)
Julian Richings – Anything for Jackson (2020)

Keith Cooper’s script immediately cuts to the chase. It’s only been a couple of minutes when we see how this apparent pair of inoffensive grandparents kidnap Becker. It is little by little through dialogue and flashbacks that we learn more about their nefarious motivations. The performances of the three leads are fabulous. In particular from Sheila McCarthy and even more from Julian Richings. Richings always in secondary roles did not waste the opportunity to shine in a lead part.

Although the elders are the villains, we can learn about their motivations to make them look more humane, showing them more like just a mere couple of evil beings. A desperate old couple moved by anguish and love. Besides, they think about themselves as cleverer than they are. Soon they are overwhelmed by the situation that they generated. And yet, despite their evil intentions driven by pain, we can empathize with them.

From christmas tales to horror flicks.

Konstantina Mantelos - Anything for Jackson (2020)
Konstantina Mantelos – Anything for Jackson (2020)

Justin G Dyck knows how to direct scary scenes. Surprising coming from a filmmaker who has made his career making white films about Christmas. He doesn’t use the typical cheap jump scare tricks. His scenes are well accomplished; he carefully creates them with accurate timing to surprise and tense the viewer with the sudden ghostly apparitions. Dyck even provides them a slight taste of black humor. The ghosts with mostly humanoid traits are well executed. They can go from horrifying to eerie comical. But the demon creatures are not equally well created where the make-up/CGI effects leave something to be desired.

One of the best of 2020 Shudder originals

Sheila McCarthy - Anything for Jackson (2020)
Sheila McCarthy – Anything for Jackson (2020)

Anything for Jackson is a solid horror production. Due to the peculiarity of its story, we do not know how far it will go. Also, the own limitations of the story will make it not a memorable experience but a worthy addition to the genre. The ending is somewhat predictable and somewhat sobering. But with a good collection of well-built scares, great performances, and a different story, they make it another Shudder hit.

Delirium score

Clever and well-directed scare scenes. Nice cinematography and great acting from the elder leads.

Written by Guillermo Garnica Bouchot

Music Lover, Comic Reader, Film Buff, Cat Person.