Cinematic Releases: Jackals (2017) Reviewed


Jackals. There is no hope here. Only pain, loss, and suffering. 

Charles Manson meets Straw Dogs meets The Strangers in this week's cinematic release of the new thriller that's directed by Saw 3D's Kevin Greutert, based on an absolutely depressing script by the semi-talented Jared Rivet. 

At the end of a mostly disappointing summer of box office duds and disasters comes a slick little horror gem that blends numerous sub-genres and tropes into 80 minutes of claustrophobic survivalist fun. Using an extremely basic plot that centers around cult deprogramming and a family's desire to save their brainwashed son, Jackals is a new spin that uses a fairly talented cast to their full extent despite some loose writing and predictable turns. As a cabin in the woods flick that uses the masked killer aura of the previously mentioned Strangers and the continued man against predator themes that blanket this genre as a whole, Jackals is simple but just interesting enough. This is familiar territory that fans may point fingers at but will ultimately find something to like.

Ask me to sing That Thing You Do
one more time and I'm gonna slice your throat. 

With a cast that features the always awesome Stephen Dorff, the tireless Jonathan Schaech, and the pained motherly instincts of Deborah Kara Unger, Jackals presents a platter of unrelenting acting that definitely out balances the script. In this case, it's a good thing. In less capable hands, the characters may not have seemed so realistic or had the dramatic chops to make this believable. In fact, they redeem the project by lending some credibility to the film. Long running tv actress Chelsea Ricketts backs them all with a strong performance than feels innocent and sad against the fiendish backdrop of torture and brutal death. Like a terrible nightmare, all is lost as characters are vanquished one by one. 

Using awesome lighting, great practical visuals, freaky mask designs and a fear inducing score, Jackals is a sampler platter that should have been a full course meal. With an added twenty minutes and more development behind the baddies, this could have rated higher. I came away wanting more. 

Share the horror. Share the suffering.