Jack Goes Home focuses on the titular character, Jack Thurlowe (Scream 4’s Rory Culkin), an eccentric writer and artist anticipating the birth of his first child, from his beautiful fiancé Cleo (Britt Robertson, who starred in Tomorrowland and alongside Culkin in Scream 4). During a regular workday, Jack suddenly receives news that his parents were in a tragic accident, with his mother the only survivor.
He quickly returns home with his crass best friend Shonda (Samara herself, Daveigh Chase from The Ring, all grown up), but upon his arrival, it soon becomes clear that his quirky rhetoric and mannerisms come from his upbringing. The discovery of a cassette tape labeled “For Jack” only muddies the waters further, leading Jack down a rabbit hole of unpredictable twists and turns with dire consequences.
Jack Goes Home is a cerebral experience that parallels intricate symbolism with the harshness of reality. Jack is an artist who expresses himself with words and exploring his darkest thoughts but, on screen, these ideas are creepy and often shocking. His expressions can be in the form of odd dialogue, dreamlike sequences, or well-crafted sequences with multiple layers. This style of delivery creates an overall feeling of eeriness throughout, leaving the audience tense and is compounded by strange interactions between the characters.
The movie begins pretty slowly in terms of story development and general creepiness, but the craziness of the story increases as Jack loses his sanity. The more Jack discovers from the tape, the stranger everything else becomes. The genius of this plot device is that, by the time the climax rolls around, we are not sure what is or isn’t real as Jack becomes more unhinged. Without giving too much away, Jack’s world goes from being slightly pretentious to having ghostly spirits to being a waking nightmare that he is trapped inside.
Also, the fact that Jack’s insane mother Teresa Thurlowe is played by Lin Shaye, Horror Icon, and star of the Insidious series, adds a nice touch. While she plays the hero in that franchise, who fights the good battle against evil, in Jack Goes Home, get a chance to see a very different side of her. Teresa Thurlow is batshit crazy and extremely unlikeable, sometimes the antagonist, but also expresses love and support for her hurting son. She drives the story, but also provide some dark humor in some of the movie’s stranger moments.
Director Thomas Dekker only has one other directing credit in his repertoire, which is a shame since Jack Goes Home is a well thought out, creepy and thoroughly enjoyable piece of filmmaking – hopefully there’s more to come from him on the directing front, as he does have quite a few acting credits to his name.
Overall, Jack Goes Home is an intense, slow-burning psychological thriller that doesn’t pick up until after the climax, but it is well worth your time. Rory Culkin delivers an amazing central performance as Jack, adding another genre role to his name, which translates well to a tense, spooky and hugely enjoyable film that is sure to provide thrills and chills on your next movie night.
Catch it when it hits US cinemas and VOD on Friday, October 14th. Make sure to stay tuned to WickedHorror for all your horror movie needs!
WICKED RATING: 6/10
Director(s): Thomas Dekker
Writer(s): Thomas Dekker
Stars: Rory Culkin, Britt Roberston, Daveigh Chase
Studio/ Production Co: Momentum Pictures
Release date: October 14 2016
Length: 100 min