"...a completely fresh and gratifying horror feature..."

- Emily Austin

As this year’s Fantasia Film Festival draws to a close, it was a pleasure to catch one last world premiere for the Canadian film Anything for Jackson, a completely fresh and gratifying horror feature that easily takes the title for this year’s most pleasantly unexpected entry. The film explores the extreme lengths family will go to for their loved ones, especially when said family happens to be satanists. 

Anything for Jackson notably has a look and feel totally unlike your typical horror fare, perhaps due to director Justin Dyck and writer Keith Cooper’s extensive experience making mostly sentimental holiday movies. Like their previous work, the core of Anything for Jackson is the family element, but toned down from greeting card to condolence card. The entire cast and especially the leads, played by Canadian film royalty Sheila McCarthy and Julian Richings, give subtle and earnest performances that really endear you to their characters, even as they commit atrocities before your eyes. 

Cooper’s script is tight, taking turns you won’t see coming and perfectly balancing drama, comedy and terror in the way only great horror movies can. The scares in this film are legitimate and well-earned through some impressively executed practical effects, as well as simple but highly effective nightmarish imagery that leverages common phobias that have been surprisingly under-utilized by other films in the genre. For his first horror feature, Dyck brought a lot of confidence and originality to this film and we look forward to seeing what he does next. If you are able to catch the final screening of Anything for Jackson at Fantasia Film Festival today (September 2nd), we strongly recommend you do, but if not, the film will have its wider release this October on Super Channel.

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Posted: 09.02.20



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