Just as I’m settling in to compose my Top 10 Horror Films of 2020 list, Shudder goes and drops a new movie in my lap and now I have to rethink my entire list. Thanks, guys. Anything for Jackson is an interesting twist on the Exorcism subgenre that manages to be really fucking scary and creepy while still salting the wounds with some much-needed humor. It’s rare a film that can pull of even one of these tricks, let alone all three in one go. But this one does it, and does it well.
An older couple have kidnapped a young, pregnant woman and hold her captive in their house. They have an ancient spell book that they’re going to use to put the soul of their too-soon departed grandchild, Jackson, into the body of the baby yet to born. Kind of a reverse-exorcism, endocism if you will (yeah I just made that up). They’re a nice couple, kind and considerate, just, you know, crazy. They belong to a Satanic cult but it appears they are using the cult more as a device to wield the spell rather than as dyed-in-the-wool true believers. Almost immediately, things start to go weird. The kidnapped girl sees the ghost of Jackson, which delights the grandparents. But after the couple conduct the ritual in the book, everything turns dark. People around and associated with the household start to act strange and disappear. Everyone begins to see and be threatened by strange, eerie visions. And with each passing day, it gets more tense and scary in the house. Meanwhile, a cop is looking into the disappearance of the pregnant girl and is zeroing in on the older couple as potential suspects. Oh, and you have a member of the Satanic cult lurking around (with one of the most amazing combovers in cinematic history), assuring the couple that he knows how to perfect the transition of Jackson into the fetus. Of course, there’s shenanigans, as the demon they summon to help with this transaction just might be a liar (imagine that!) and it might be tricking them into maybe ending the world.
After a moody and thoughtful beginning, things get wild almost right away. Once the kidnapping goes down, it does not stop, it rockets forward with increasing momentum and scares. There’s a lot of really, really creepy stuff in this film (dental floss, anyone?), things I won’t detail so as not to spoil, as well as many twists and turns (Bang! Bang!). Just when you think you know where this story is going or exactly how a character is going to act, guess what? You don’t. There’s more than a bit of blood in this and some really nice dollops of humor, which both helps the terror go down a little easier, but also add a touch of realism to the matters at hand, making them even more chilling. You really care for the elderly couple and the pregnant lady, and at times, I wasn’t sure who to root for. I just wanted it to turn out okay for everyone but, this being a horror film, you can bet your ass it doesn’t.
This is a really, really good horror film, filled with lots of scares, lots of creepy moments, tons of outright horrific things going on, and most of all, characters you really care about. This should be getting more national attention because I think this is the rare film that crosses over to both the hardcore audiences and the more casual fan. In other words, if you’re the kind of person that has every different media copy of say, the Evil Dead films, you will love this just as much as the average Joe who only goes to watch mainstream movies like the Blumhouse films. Both groups will get their socks scared right off.
Go watch it and enjoy yourself.
Four Buckets of Blood out of Four