‘Anything for Jackson’ Showcases the Horrors of Grief Complete with Seasonal Scares

At Christmastime, the films of choice in many households are fuzzy romantic comedies with predicable endings and animated classics that invoke nostalgia. But for those more interested in holiday horrorAnything for Jackson could be the latest addition to the yearly rotation. Read on for Showbiz Cheat Sheet’s official review and plot overview (sans spoilers).

‘Anything for Jackson’ premise

Anything for Jackson begins with an elderly couple, Audrey and Henry Walsh. They’re making plans regarding their day when someone arrives at their door. Immediately, something is off — Henry and Audrey abduct this person, soon revealed to be Shannon Becker, a pregnant patient of Henry’s at his obstetrics practice.

As Shannon learns why she’s suddenly become patient zero, the audience does, too: Audrey and Henry lost their grandson, Jackson, in a car accident. They joined a group of satanic worshippers in their grief, which led them to an ancient book. Their plan? To bring Jackson back via Shannon’s fetus.

‘Anything for Jackson’ plot

Josh Cruddas in 'Anything for Jackson'
Josh Cruddas in ‘Anything for Jackson’ | Shudder

The couple set their plan in motion. Henry will keep up appearances at work, while Audrey tends to Shannon. Obstacles naturally crop up, in the way of an overly friendly neighbor and a cop who investigates Shannon’s disappearance. However, Audrey and Henry believe they have their bases covered — for the most part.

But they couldn’t begin to expect what would occur as they set out in the world of satanic rituals. The pair soon realize that they’ve invoked horrors the likes of which they never dreamed, all in pursuit of their grandson’s resurrection. As the situation spirals out of control, Henry and Audrey bring in Ian, a member of their group who is well-versed in these rituals.

‘Anything for Jackson’ scares

Konstantina Mantelos in 'Anything for Jackson'
Konstantina Mantelos in ‘Anything for Jackson’ | Shudder

As one might expect, Anything for Jackson doesn’t feature many jump scares. It’s a slow burn, but the action begins almost immediately. Apparitions are the name of the game here, of which there are many. They start slowly and build over time as the body count rises. But slasher film this isn’t — it’s more focused on distorting perception.

For fans of the supernatural, Anything for Jackson is perfect. It’s Rosemary’s Baby meets The Exorcist. But despite taking inspiration from past iconic films in the subgenre, it doesn’t feel dated. Shannon’s phone becomes a minor plot point, but aside from that, the movie could take place in almost any period. The pain of loss is timeless.

Who stars in ‘Anything for Jackson’?

Julian Richings and Sheila McCarthy in 'Anything for Jackson'
Julian Richings and Sheila McCarthy in ‘Anything for Jackson’ | Shudder

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Sheila McCarthy portrays Audrey Jackson. McCarthy has been a steadily working actor since the ’80s. She played the waitress Agnes in the hit Netflix series, The Umbrella Academy. Like his on-screen wife, Julian Richings (Henry) has a long history in the business. Audiences may recognize him from his recurring roles in hit series Orphan Black and 12 Monkeys.

Shannon is played by Konstantina Mantelos, a relatively unknown star with a history in short films. Josh Cruddas portrays Ian. In 2020, Cruddas appeared in a recurring role in the Hulu series Future Man, portraying Vincent Van Gosh. Finally, Yannick Bisson plays the aforementioned neighbor. Bisson is best known for his starring role in the long-running mystery series Murdoch Mysteries.

Watch Anything for Jackson on Shudder in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and New Zealand beginning on December 3, 2020. The film is available on Super Channel in Canada.