Friday, 20 March 2015

Friday Night Screening: Jack in the Box 2008

Jack In The Box
‘Musical Chair Of Death’ , let’s hope they don’t try ‘Twister Of Torments’ next.

I’m not kidding, that’s actually a thing, you take a kids game, and with enough meth and absinth you can come up with a horror movie about that game. After such stupidities as ‘Battleship’ I really thought we had hit rock bottom when it comes to movie ideas, but nope, as always, I was wrong. People, I give you jigsaw’s version of the musical chairs: Jack In The Box.
Now, what has this 2008 horror movie to do with the title? A 30 seconds scene at the beginning of some woman who we’ll never see again giving her demonic child a jack in the box. Yup, that’s it, nothing else. So what is this movie really about? Musical chair! But wait, it’s musical chair from HELL!

Six unlucky wannabe actors find themselves stuck in a basement thinking they were going to an audition, with a dirty hobo who only talks in riddles an rhymes and seems to have lost his marbles. The six prisoners (who have the same name as their actors, that’s either genius or just laziness) quickly discover they are in the game of their lives when the music starts playing from a ‘Felix the cat’ clock on the wall and the hobo shows them that they have to play the musical chairs with him.  
The loser gets the consolation prize of slow agonizing death (joy) and it becomes a tension building horror as they wait for the music to play again.

With movies like these, where the protagonists are stuck the entire movie in the same room, the whole thing needs to rely heavily on dialogue. What’s the main problem with Jack In The Box? The dialogue isn’t that great. You can tell the writers were really trying, but they just weren’t that good. No character has an interesting story to tell. There wasn’t a single memorable line in this entire movie, ok except “someone’s gonna sh8t some splinters…”, that one was pretty hilarious, only for the fact that they actually try to make it sound badass. I won’t give this movie too much sh8t, because writing dialogue is one of the hardest things to do with a movie, let alone one where the dialogue is the only thing driving the movie. However, choosing to do so was still a stupid idea, points for trying, sure, but it doesn’t make the movie any better. It doesn’t help either that they killed off my favorite as second, still kind of pissed about that.
Although, one interesting aspect of this movie is that it is shot in real time…ish, kinda. Every ten minutes the creepy Felix clock decides to drop some sick beats and our unfortunate heroes have to dance for their lives, which means ten minutes of exposition every time someone gets offed, great….
It wouldn’t be so bad that the dialogue isn’t worth much if the actors would give it their all, which they really don’t. Most of them sound tired or like if they rather be in a much better movie
The story is a complete mess also, if you thought for even one second you’ll get answers at some point in this movie, then I’m sorry for you. The movie drops hints here and there of possible connections between the victims of the identity of their captor, but seems to quickly forget how to tell a story and goes back to pointless expositions about the characters backstories that has nothing to do with anything.
Yet…I don’t hate it.
I know, I know, it’s badly acted and the story is beyond stupid, not to mention it bit off way more than it could chew. But I still felt the need to keep watching to see who would survive. It’s no torture porn like Saw, there’s barely any blood in it, which is pretty interesting on its own.
So yeah, not a great movie by any means, stupid as hell premise, but it didn’t bore me and I didn’t hate it as much as I should have.

But seriously, what’s next? Spin the bottle and die? Hungry Hungry Psycho’s? Truth or death? BattleGhostShip? Tag with knives? What the hell guys?

Things I’ve learned from Jack in the Box:
- Next time a friend invites you to play scrabbles, bring a effin gun.
- When William White tries to sound angry, he totally goes Solid Snake on us.
- This isn’t really something I’ve learned, but why didn’t they just stay seated? I mean, one guy does it and he isn’t disqualified or anything, hell, he even survives that round. As for that matter, why did they give away a chair every time someone lost? It’s not like they have to, just push the hobo in a corner or knock his ass out, and stay seated with the six of you until the end. It just seemed kind of…you know, pointless?

Personal rating: 5.2

Critical rating: 4.5

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