Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Basement Jack
You will learn not to be a bad boy
Jarv’s Rating: Damn it, I’m really not sure. Oh, what the fuck, half a Chang out of 4. Completely derivative and uninspired slasher movie with a reasonably cool villain and a fucking stupid ending. Not to mention a fucking stupid beginning and a pretty fucking stupid middle.
Not to be confused with electronica/ house act Basement Jaxx. I never really liked them, but I do have to concede that they did have their moments, before they became confused about being actual “artists” rather than sample merchants. Still that “Where’s your head at?” video was pretty cool. The one with the monkeys. This film, on the other hand, does not feature monkeys, particularly monkeys that have ugly human faces and glasses and whatnot. It does, however, feature a stab at a new “slasher” villain, a couple of decent performances and a pretty well thought out origin story. It is also pretty fucking stupid.
On one hand, I do want to applaud people who decide to breathe new life into slasher movies. Really, as a concept, the genre is akin to Jason Vorhees himself- completely dead, yet some douchebag keeps digging it up and electrocuting it back to life, whereupon it will wreak havoc in the form of boredom on unsuspecting horny teenagers everywhere. However, on the other hand, almost all of them blow, but worse than that the concept is so played out that we know every single beat of the film, we know the twists, we know that a character must die at a certain point in the film, we even know that when a character says certain lines (notably “I’ll be right back”) he may as well have already tied the toe-tag on himself.
Basement Jack is a 2009 DTV entry that attempts to create a new Michael Myers type big silent killer. The premise this time is that he lurks around in your basement, before popping out and eviscerating your family. This strikes me as ungrateful, it isn’t as if the bastard has been paying rent or anything, and he’s still got the temerity to murder the poor people that have been sheltering him. The film opens with two horny teenagers attempting to ride the pork bus into tuna town in their car (co-incidentally parked right outside her parents’ house- which is a bit dumb now I come to mention it). Anyhow, (there’s going to be a lot of these in this review), she’s on the blob or some such, and therefore has no desire at all for sex. Argument ensues, teenagers enter house and discover that silent douchebag has butchered her family.
Anyhoo, cut to years later and we’re introduced again to Karen (who has morphed into the rather fetching Michelle Morrow- even if she does display a severe stubbornness in keeping her clothes on). She’s pursuing Jack Riley, because she believes that he’s out of prison. Most people when they come out of prison want 3 things: A steak, beer, and sex, wait, scratch that, that’s what most men want full stop. Jack, however, doesn’t want delicious beer, tasty steak and nasty sex. He wants to kill people.
Aaaaaanyhoooooooow, for reasons to dimwitted to bother going into, she’s arrested by the local cops and there’s lots of arguing while Jack murders people with impunity. Eventually Jack comes for her in the police station.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaanyyyyyyyhooooooooooow, she somehow escapes and hides in a basement, they have a fight, she beats him up (pathetic), he dons half a broken doll’s head (fuck knows why), then they have another fight and he gets electrocuted, blown up, yada, yada yada, but has escaped….
Really this is a dumb film.
There’s an episode of Family Guy where Peter begins to write smutty books. He’s reading one to Lois, and strings together a series of random sentences, culminating with “Did I mention that he was a robot”. Well, that’s how I feel describing this film. Shit just happens because it is required to happen, and never for any good reason. For example, there’s the aforementioned sex in the drive- this only happens so she can avoid the killing. When the film starts, she finds a guy in a car. She steals the car, but shit, wait, did I mention that he’s dead? Oh… (By the way, this corpse that she left on the side of the road is never mentioned again). See what I mean? This film actually plays out as if Peter Griffin had written it. That is not a good thing. Finally on this score, because the late part of the last decade was all about reboots and origins and whatnot we’re given lengthy flashbacks of Jack being tortured by his clearly bonkers mother (Lynn Lowry). If it weren’t for the fact that these are clearly the best bits of the film, it would be severely aggravating.
The acting is actually quite good, believe it or not. Morrow is fine as Karen, and Eric Peter-Keiser is quite good as Jack. The cops are crap, with Sam Skoryna in particular being pretty awful. Lynn Lowry is, as mentioned, astonishingly mental as Jack’s mother and she easily comes away with all the acting plaudits from this film.
I haven’t done one of these in ages, but I really think I have to, so here’s a good, bad and AWESOME for Basement Jack:
The Good: The aforementioned performances. Some of the gore effects aren’t too bad either.
The Bad: The writing is shit, terrible, actually and not entertaining. For example, Jack slaughters every cop in the police station using a blade before one of them can get a shot off. This wouldn’t be too bad, but one of them has the gun in her fucking hand and has to walk the length of a corridor before he can kill her. Why not, you know, pull the trigger? It’s also jarring as hell. Not to mention that our silent killer gets his arse kicked by a girl.
The AWESOME: Jack’s weapon is a big fucking machete superglued onto a hospital crutch so he can’t drop it or something. Anyway, that’s it.
Basement Jack isn’t a bad slasher. Take my word for it, compared to some of the half-arsed and half-baked efforts out there it’s almost good. Unfortunately it’s hamstrung because it’s written in the style of a six-year-old explaining what he did on his holidays. It’s aggravating and infuriating as there is an actual good film in here, and the slaughters themselves are well staged, but when you’re watching it and wondering to yourself “Oh, shouldn’t I have been told that earlier” or “is this essential to the plot” then you can tell there are far too many mediocre- actively bad ideas on screen.
Needless to say, I don’t recommend this. It’s toss, if I’m honest, and pretty much a failure all round. I suspect that half the crap thrown at the screen here (Karen apparently can just turn up and wander round murder scenes until the cops turn up to arrest her) is because there isn’t enough material for a feature length run time. Coherently structured, and properly rewritten this may have been good, but that isn’t what happened- what did happen is a waste of two actresses going far above and beyond the call of duty.
Fuck you Jack, cunt, back in the basement with you.
Until next time,
Post comment edit: While I didn’t like this film, and do stand by this review, it seems churlish of me to not point out that Basement Jack was unlucky in that I saw it at the end of a particularly hateful slasher binge (most of which I haven’t even bothered reviewing they’re that bad- and it would be a lousy piece of writing on my behalf to just call everyone involved with some of them rude names. Secondly, while I thought it was bad, Mrs. Jarv liked it. Thanks, Jarv