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Review: 'Anything for Jackson' is Mild, Silly

by Kevin Taft
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Dec 3, 2020
Konstantina Mantelos as Shannon Becker in 'Anything For Jackson'
Konstantina Mantelos as Shannon Becker in 'Anything For Jackson'  

Why, oh why, do seemingly normal people always feel the need to summon Satan? I mean... do any of these people think any of that is going to end well?

This is the premise of "Anything for Jackson," a mild horror film about two grandparents who summon the devil so they can bring their dead grandson back to life using a woman's unborn baby. Yup. I said it.

Sheila McCarthy and Julian Richings star as Audrey and Henry Walsh, bereaved grandparents who kidnap a pregnant patient of Henry's (Becker, played by Konstantina Mantelos), so they can demonically put their dead grandson's spirit in the body of her unborn child. I guess it doesn't matter that the kid won't look like their grandson and, by all appearances, was so little he barely had formed a personality. Still, they have their dream, so off to their Satanist "AA" group they go, calling on demons and reading from an ancient spellbook.

The problem comes in when, after they've performed the ritual to get the little guy in the other little guy, horrible things start to happen to the people around them. People keep shooting themselves, dipping their heads into snowblower blades, and more. It's a real holiday treat.

So, will poor Becker figure out a way to escape and not have her baby become some weird demon child? It's an okay set-up, but the movie itself is a bit of a slog. Not much happens while they wait for Becker to deliver except trying to make sure nobody finds out Gramma and Grampa have a kidnapped pregnant lady in their upstairs bedroom.

Or having anyone discover the body count, because Memaw and G'Paw aren't that equipped at dealing with demonic entities that keep showing up and making people do bad things to themselves.

The acting here is fine for what they've been given, but it all comes across a little silly and uninvolving. Director Justin G. Dyck is best known as a director of a slew of Hallmark-type movies (he did six in 2019 alone), so this is a departure, and probably where his passion lays. It's not directed poorly, and there is evidence of a solid horror future for him, but just as rom-com TV movies can feel a little bland, "Anything for Jackson" feels the same. It does make me curious as to what Dyck will do next, and I wonder if combining his past experience of squeaky-clean rom-coms with his penchant for horror might be a good calling card for him.

"Anything for Jackson" debuts on AMC's Shudder streaming service on Dec.3rd.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.

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