Originally filmed for the Chiller network, The Monkey’s Paw, directed by Brett Simmons, is an adaption of the W.W. Jacobs-penned short story of the same name.
The Monkey’s Paw follows Jake Tilton (C.J Thomason- Transformers, Husk), a New Orleans warehouse worker where his awful boss is married to his ex-girlfriend. His mother is hospitalized, dying of cancer while expensive chemotherapy treatments are having little effect.
After a hard day’s work, at a local watering hole, Jake comes into possession of the mystical monkey’s paw from a co-worker who has been unjustly fired. This particular paw, so the legend goes, will grant its holder three wishes.
When a wish for a nice car results in the death of his friend, Tony Cobb (Stephen Lang- Avatar), Jake uses another wish to bring him back to life, resulting in the resurrection of his friend, but with a vicious (and murderous) side to him. A new heavy handed Cobb pressures Jake into using the final wish to reunite Cobb with his son with his intimidation quickly escalating into relentless murder. This forces Jake to outwit his psychotic friend and save his remaining loved ones.
Other than the locations, the highlights of the film is the camaraderie between Stephen Lang‘s Cobb and C.J. Thomason‘s Jake. While Jake is the main character, and does a good job at it, Lang’s acting somewhat overshadows Thomason. Lang turns in a solid performance as Cobb, who swings from drunken pout to steely-eyed manic in equal measure.
The Monkey’s Paw had a number of workable narrative possibilities for Jake but instead they took in favor of a random wish for an awesome car, which then lead to an overqualified Stephen Lang being turned into an undead killing machine. This is the kind of frustrating horror movie that manages a few moments of genuine unease and atmosphere, mixed in with copious amounts of predictability. Apart from the three-wish element, there’s little here to set this movie apart from other psycho knife-wielding slasher-fests.
I liked the concept of this film, when you wish for things you don’t get what you asked for, ie the cautionary tale about being careful what you wish for. But I was ultimately disappointed with its execution in The Monkey’s Paw.
I would recommend this film for a DVD night in.
WICKED RATING: (4.5 / 10)
Title: The Monkeys Paw
Director: Brett Simmons
Writer(s): Macon Blair, W.W. Jacobs
Stars: C.J. Thomason, Stephen Lang, Michelle Pierce
Studio/ Production Co: Chiller Films, TMP Films, Jay-X Entertainment