‘Anything For Jackson’ Movie Review: But I Won’t Do That
These grandparents will do ‘Anything for Jackson’
Audrey (Sheila McCarthy) and Henry (Julian Richings) are a proper British couple who drag Shannon (Konstantina Mantelos) into their home and whack her with a hammer in the first scene. They gag and tie her to the bed and explain their plan to make her unborn child the vessel for their late grandson Jackson to be reborn.
Shannon’s in a tight spot either way. If Audrey and Henry are delusional, she’s still their prisoner. If they’re right, it’s even worse.
‘Anything for Jackson’ but nothing for Shannon
The parts of Anything for Jackson where Audrey and Henry perpetrate the kidnapping are thorough. They test the soundproofing of Shannon’s bedroom for the audience to see no one outside can hear her. They answer Shannon’s dating app to create a trail that suggests she is still living her life. The film also shows how they screened for the perfect victim with the help of a doctor.
Henry starts wavering more than Audrey. He’s worried people will come looking for Shannon, and even visitors who aren’t suspicious force him to cover up the kidnapping. That creates potential hurdles for Audrey, and for them both if Henry’s guilt gives them away.
Whose side are you on?
Anything for Jackson establishes early on that Audrey and Henry do have the ability to perform their ritual. Shannon can already see the ghost of Jackson, and flashbacks show Audrey learning how to resurrect dead animals.
This aspect creates a brilliant dynamic because of course what they did is monstrous, kidnapping a woman. But they lost a child and grandson and they have a supernatural Faustian way to get him back. So they’re a little sympathetic, although they brought any horror on themselves, and Anything for Jackson has many horrific sights to plague them while they wait for Shannon to carry to term. There are even surprises where someone you think is a foil on the psychological side may manifest something supernatural.
And, it’s a horror movie with adults making dangerous decisions. They’re in over their heads but they’re going into this of their own volition, not the hapless victims of a slasher. Anything for Jackson premiered at the Fantasia Film Festival and played Nightstream. Hopefully it gets released wider so everyone can experience this shocking combination of classic thrills.