Jack Goes Home is the impressive first feature from Thomas Dekker which stars Rory Culkin and Lin Shaye
I don’t know if the horror genre is where Jack Goes Home belongs. Yeah, it looks and feels like a horror movie but there is so much more to it than that.
Jack Goes Home is the directorial debut from Thomas Dekker (John Connor in The Sarah Connor Chronicles). The film stars Rory Culkin, Lin Shaye, Daveigh Chase, Nikki Reed, Louis Hunter and Britt Robertson.
In the opening scene, we get quickly introduced to the sort of character that Jack is. He doesn’t seem like a nice guy and comes across as an ignorant self-righteous prick. We see him jump down a colleague’s throat when he uses an incorrect term and calls Jack ‘bro’. Jack wasn’t impressed and has no problem telling his colleague that they are most definitely ‘not bros’. This opening sequence is accompanied by a creepy voiceover with Culkin reciting passages from a poem. Already within a couple of minutes of the film opening, we know that the tone of the film will be dark.
Jack gets the horrible news that his parents were in a car crash that gruesomely killed his father and injured his mother. Jack takes some time off work and flys from LA to Colorado to help bury his father and nurse his mother back to health and offer her some much-needed support.
When Jack arrives home he finds his mother in an awful state (as can be expected). laying naked on the couch holding a violin. It is how she isn’t acting that is worrying Jack, she seems numb to the fact that she just lost her husband in such a gruesome way. After a heated argument and some tears, Jack escorts his mother to her room and make his way towards his old bedroom.
When Jack finds an old tape recorder in his attic with a tape saying ‘for Jack’ he starts to question everything
The tapes are from his father that he recorded years ago. When his father was singing Jack to sleep he would record it on this old tape recorder. When Jack peacefully slipped into a deep sleep with the soothing sound of his father’s voice, his father’s tone would change and he would start revealing dark secrets about his family and Jack’s childhood.
I really don’t want to give too much away of the story as it goes in directions that are a joy to watch if you don’t know what’s coming. It has a ton of genuinely creepy moments that most definitely belong in the horror genre. It is a psychological drama that uses a genuine real-life situation which allows you to naturally add elements of horror.
Lin Shaye from the Insidious franchise nails it as Jack’s mother. Her explosive performance really gave Culkin the chance to give it his all. To have a damn fine actress working right next to you must have helped him a lot.
Which now brings me Culkin
His role as Jack was unnerving, frightening, unpredictable. All of this while still having a great deal of empathy for his character; He quite simply knocked it out of the park. There is one scene when Jack starts sleepwalking and making strange noises. I was able to deal with it for the first few seconds but then I started getting chills. I never knew sleepwalking in a movie could get under your skin so much…it was intense. Culkin recently caught my attention in impressive home invasion horror Intruders. I am glad he is getting the leading roles and I am glad this is the path that he is choosing to follow.
If this is Thomas Dekker’s first film then I will be shocked to find out what he comes up with next. As I said above, this does not feel like someone’s first attempt at filmmaking. This is amazing filmmaking and a genre fucked with but done to perfection. Everyone involved with Jack Goes Home done a fantastic job, the acting, writing, direction, cinematography, and music.