Saturday, 10 May 2014

MR. JONES - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Scarecrows are super-creepy and thankfully, so's this horror movie.

Is it art? Is it a real scarecrow? Or is it both?
Whatever it is, it's pretty fucking creepy.

Horror Movies Need Babes.
Sarah Jones fits the bill.
Very nicely, indeed.
Mr. Jones (2013) ***1/2
Dir. Karl Müller
Starring: Jon Foster, Sarah Jones, Mark Steger

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Scott (Jon Foster) is a self absorbed asshole. His wife Penny (Sarah Jones) not only cares about him, but as such, seems destined for sainthood. She's given up home, friends, family, comfort and career to move out into the middle of nowhere so hubby can chill out from his depression and recharge his creative juices to make a personal nature documentary. Of course, the hope is that something of their relationship can be salvaged. At first, all seems well. The couple is lovey-dovey, the scenery is gorgeous, Scott shoots lots of footage and Sarah seems satisfied her man can return to the man she originally fell in love with. All seems well in paradise but alas, perfection has a bad habit of dissipating into disappointment.

Scott selfishly begins weaning himself off his anti-depressants, stops shooting altogether, lazes about under the pretext of seeking inspiration and gradually becomes nasty and verbally abusive. To make matters worse, they discover something creepy in the woods.

Karl Müller wrote the superb dystopian Xavier Gens science fiction thriller The Divide and makes an impressive directorial debut with Mr. Jones. This creepy low-budget horror film, like the former title, includes everything on the checklist one finds attached to micro-price-tagged genre pictures to ensure their actual production. Like Müller's previous script, he writes a piece here that doesn't draw attention to the film's meagre cash resources and instead places emphasis on character, atmosphere and genuine pit-of-the-stomach terror.

And let me tell you, a couple on the rocks, a hubby off his rocker and being in the middle of nowhere, is not the ideal series of circumstances to start discovering a whole whack of scarecrow figures in the cabin's vicinity. It's Penny who first realizes that this might be the work of a mysterious and reclusive artist whom one prominent expert has dubbed "Mr. Jones". The couple finds some common ground to get things back on track - so much so, they begin exploring the area even more intensely and discover another cabin, deep in the woods.

Mr. Jones is ready for a mind-fuck.
What they discover in the cabin is so uncanny that Scott is inspired to trash his nature documentary and logically decides to make a film about Mr. Jones. Clearly he hopes to make contact with the man and get him on camera since nobody has ever met the J.D. Salinger-like recluse before. For years, Jones has anonymously deposited these art pieces at galleries and even people's homes. With Penny's blessing, Scott takes off for the city to interview a few experts on the subject. Now if I were Penny, I don't know how keen I'd be to wait alone in the middle of nowhere with s mysterious dude lurking nearby and setting up freaky scarecrows. If she didn't, there wouldn't be much of a movie. Besides, the picture's proved to be plenty cool and I was certainly up for the crosscutting twixt info Scott finds out in the city and the nuggets Penny gleans in the country.

Scott learns a whole lotta weird shit. Penny, gets to experience it. In both cases it seems like they're sharing dreams, or rather, nightmares. Or are they? The movie slowly and eerily transforms into a major head-fuck and we soon have no idea whose perspective we're seeing things from. However, whatever POV we get (sometimes they even seem to be blended on camera and in dreams or, uh, real life), writer-director Müller lobs mega-scary shit in our direction with considerable intensity and aplomb.

And yes, there's a found footage thing going on, but given the fact that the lead character is making a documentary, there's a good reason for it. Even more than that, the video camera POV is cleverly integrated to the point where the narrative becomes inextricably linked to it because. . . well, no sense giving that away.

What Müller delivers in the final half hour is a major league trip. In fact, a good way to watch this is alone, in the dark, with nothing to disturb you whilst watching from beginning to end with the sound on your TV cranked to the max. It's what I did and I genuinely had trouble sleeping that night.

Now that's a horror movie!

Mr. Jones is available on DVD via Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada Ltd. Feel free to buy it directly from the Amazon links below, and in so doing, you'll be contributing to the ongoing maintenance of The Film Corner.