“Anything for Jackson”

4 STARS

The classic exorcism horror tale is given a devilish twist in “Anything for Jackson,” a scary, thrilling movie from Hallmark Christmas movie director (yes, really) Justin G. Dyck. This film is the stuff of nightmares, brimming with horrifying imagery that will make you want to sleep with all the lights on for the next month.

After losing their only grandson Jackson in an accident, mild-mannered couple Audrey (Sheila McCarthy) and her doctor husband Henry (Julian Richings) are overwhelmed with grief. The two senior citizens appear to be the perfect neighbors, going about their daily routines and bothering absolutely no one. But nothing is as it seems. Audrey and Henry have gotten their hands on an ancient book that holds a litany of Satanic rites, one they hope they can invoke to bring back their young grandchild.

The ritual is a reverse exorcism, so Henry kidnaps his pregnant patient Becker (Konstantina Mantelos) and intends to put the spirit of Jackson inside her unborn child. After repeated assurances that neither of them intends to hurt the mother or her baby, they chain Becker to the bed and perform some bizarre rituals over her — and awaken a congregation of evil spirits in the process.

What follows is a scary and sophisticated haunted house movie, as the pair scramble to figure out how to end the terrorizing from the spirit world that’s amassing a larger body count than expected. Henry and Audrey have brought it on themselves, and no matter the extent of their advance preparation, nothing is going as planned. In an act of desperation they seek out Ian (Josh Cruddas), another member of their Satanic group (comprised of a bunch of misfits and nerds that meet in the local library — a perfect dose of dark humor). Ian believes in the supernatural and helps complete the spell, with demonic intentions. He is perhaps the most terrifying character of all.

The story is unpredictable and unsettling, with lots of surprises that you won’t see coming. The visuals are original, too, with many frightening scenes that operate in the purest sense of the scare. Not cheap jump scares, but frights with real substance behind them. That’s what makes “Anything for Jackson” so unforgettable.

By: Louisa Moore

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