Stars: Rory Culkin, Lin Shaye, Britt Robertson, Nikki Reed, Natasha Lyonne, Daveigh Chase, Louis Hunter, Serge Levin, Michael Sirow, Hutchi Hancock | Written and Directed by Thomas Dekker
How we deal with loss is a personal thing that affects us in different ways. Something we can all agree on though is that it can be one of the hardest things we ever have to go through. Jack Goes Home is a new movie that looks at coping with loss, or to be more precise, not being able to cope with it.
When Jack (Rory Culkin) receives news that his father is dead he travels home to look after his mother (Lin Shaye) who was also in the accident with her husband. Dealing with the loss, Jack begins to discover long buried secrets about himself and his parents that make him question everything about himself.
Jack Goes Home is a psychological horror that not only examines how a person deal with loss, but also takes the audience through a trip through Jack’s psyche. Staying with his mother, who appears to be a very odd person he has to face his past, even if she appears to fight against him doing so. It is hard to work out what her role in the things that have happened to him is, but she is constantly there in the background to make things just a little…odd.
Lin Shaye plays the part of the mother well, she portrays the character as a somewhat evil influence on Jack, but also one that has a frailty. It is hard to work out just what is going on in Jack’s mind, but there is always the hint that all is not as it seems, and maybe we shouldn’t be trusting what we see.
This is where things become slightly predictable in the film, but not enough to confirm what we are waiting to be revealed. In fact, Jack Goes Home constantly tries to alter our opinions, constantly changing route to try to trick the audience into thinking that they are wrong. What this achieves though is a lot of confusing additions to a box full of horror tropes that sometimes risks overflowing.
What Jack Goes Home feels like it is doing is throwing everything it can at the audience to try and confuse them, as if the audience itself is inside Jack’s mind, a man who appears to be losing his sanity. What this does is to make the film feel somewhat hard to connect with at times as you lose yourself in that chaotic nature of all that is going on.
To give credit to Thomas Dekker though who writes and directs the movie, he does find a balance between the many confusing things we see on the screen, and he does seem to understand when enough is enough. Add to this the performance of Rory Culkin as Jack and you do have a film that will stick in your mind for some time. The reason for this may be that you are still trying to find answers as to what you’ve actually watched, but at least it pokes your brain a little and gets you thinking.
Jack Goes Home is a film that is a little different than the normal run of the mill horror we tend to see churned out these days, and this (for me at least) is a good thing. I can see some people losing focus with what they are seeing easy, and not connecting with the film but if you do then this unsettling experience will be one that sticks with you. Give it a chance, you may just like it.
Jack Goes Home is released in cinemas and on VOD in the US October 14th.