Jacob: Unrated Director's Cut
- Street Date:
- April 16th, 2013
- Reviewed by:
- Bryan Kluger
- Review Date: 1
- May 9th, 2013
- Movie Release Year:
- Kino Video
- 90 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Release Country
- United States
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
New and original horror films are becoming more difficult to come by these days. And it's even more rare to come across a good horror film, whether it be a new independent one, or a mainstream Hollywood gore fest. Mostly these days we have to settle for a remake of some horror flick from the 60s or 70s, which most of the time is not even in the same ballpark as the original. Then we have original story lines, but tend to be marketed to a wider audience of 13 and older, which most of the time dumbs down the scares and suspense.
With 'Jacob', we have an ultra low-budget horror film that uses practical effects and takes its cue from the horror slasher films of the 80s. From the very start, we can see that the filmmakers had a blast making this yarn with their friends and other actors. It reminded me of making short horror movies with my classmates in college. However, 'Jacob' doesn't seem to have on original thought, as every story arc, character, and death has been taken from another horror film of the past 40 years.
Larry Wade Carrel wrote, directed, and acted in multiple roles for this film as we learn about the title character Jacob (Dylan Horne) who is a beast of a man who has the brains of a scarecrow, but the anger of Henry of Jason Vorhees mixed with Henry from 'Henry:Portrait of a Serial Killer'. Jacob hears demonic voices, kills animals, and walks around slowly like we have seen in many a slasher film, which is dull and boring these days.
We first get a frightening tale of the legendary and ruthless Jacob Kale in present day, but then we flash back to the 70s, where Jacob's parents and sister are doing their daily routines. We instantly see Jacob's mom's alcoholic boyfriend, Otis, beating on her when the neighbors call the police. Once the police arrive, Jacob has Otis in a hold as the cops try to get him to calm down. Only thing is, that he can't. That is until his sister, Sissy, tells him to, and he listens.
We quickly see that Sissy is the one constant in Jacob's life, which foreshadows to present day that something awful must happen to her for him to lose all sense of reality and go into full psycho killer mode. However, before we can dive into the blood and guts, we must learn about every character for an hour, which is tedious and boring. The corny acting and over-the-top dialogue doesn't help the story or pacing. However, it was great to see the great Michael Biehn show up, even if it was for a little bit, which we learn that he was Jacob's father who once found an evil book reminicscent of 'The Evil Dead' that might have changed young Jacob forever.
After the hour mark, things kick into a higher gear and the carnage and blood begins to spill. Their are enough limbs, guts, and bones for everyone here, and it is all done practically, meaning no CG work. I think that all horror movies from this point forward should only be allowed to use practical effects. It just looks better and keeps us in the moment. Then the film takes a turn and resembles 'Frankenstein', as the townsfolk set out to stop this monster named Jacob, but Jacob flips it on its ear and he starts hunting them.
'Jacob' uses the slasher motif along with a paranormal vibe to make us scared and close out eyes, however that never happens. I wasn't scared at all during this as Jacob himself isn't scary, even in his overalls. We've seen the same thing a million times before, thus we know what's coming. On one hand, I love seeing low budget horror films with a lot of real blood used. But we can't just pay homage to our favorite horror films all in one movie. The result will be a dull and empty movie with a bad guy who a 3 year old girl wouldn't be afraid of.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
'Jacob' comes with a 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The film itself looked like it was filmed with an HD camera that you could get at Best Buy, so there are some noticeable issues with the picture. The detail of the image was on the soft side, specifically during the wide shots. Some of the closeups provided greater detail as we could see some facial hair and imperfections here and there, but overall, it seemed to be a little out of focus.
The colors seem to have been graded and has given the picture a yellow layer to it. Black levels also do not seem to be very deep either. There is sufficient noise all around too that really makes the nighttime scenes a pain to watch. There is also a bit of banding throughout 'Jacob as well, which makes the backgrounds hard to see. I know Kino enjoys putting out their "as is "blu-rays," but this needed better.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix as well as a 2.0 stereo track. I've never heard anything quite like this 5.1 track before. Instead of designing an audio track to push different sounds such as dialogue, sound effects, the score, and ambient noises from different channels in your system, they decided to crank the sound to 11 on all channels at the same time, so all sounds come out of the speakers at the same time. Yes, this doesn't sound right, but why am I hearing dialogue on my rear speakers at full volume constantly?
There is no directionality and seems like most of the audio was added in the editing room after filming. You'll hear the bones crushing, the blood gushing, and the dialogue being spoken clearly, but as it comes out of all the speakers, it was very distracting. So, I decided to switch to the 2.0 stereo mix, and it sounded much better. Use the stereo option on this one, instead of the 5.1 track. I'd never thought I'd say that.
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
- Audio Commentaries - There are two audio commentary tracks to choose from. One is with the writer/director/actor Larry Wade Carrell and his cinematographer. The other track is with a few actors. I preferred the track with Carrel as he clearly had a lot of fun making the film and he provides the most insight into making the film. If you are a horror enthusiast or an aspiring filmmaker, you'll want to listen to this. The cast commentary is fun enough, but comes across as disjointed, with stories of filming and unfunny memories.
- The Journey of 'Jacob': Behind the Scenes (HD, 63 mins) - Over an hour of interviews and on set footage that covers everything in making 'Jacob.' This is a decent behind the scenes.
- Deleted and Extended Scenes (HD, 7 mins) - Here are some deleted scenes and extended scenes of the film, but nothing seems to be worth watching. There is also an optional commentary by the director.
- Interview at Montreal Comicon (HD, mins) - A fairly short interview with Larry Wade Carrel at the Canadian premiere in Montreal.
- Screen Tests (HD, 5 mins) - Here are two of the actor's rehearsing some of their scenes.
- From Storyboard to Screen (HD, 4 mins) - We're gonna need a montage. Here is a montage of storyboard sequences compared to the final film..
- Pre Production Pitch Trailer (HD, 3 mins) - Here is what I imagine Carrell showed potential investors to gain funding for 'Jacob'.
- Teaser Trailer (HD, 1 min) - Teaser trailer for 'Jacob'.
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
There are no HD exclusives.
'Jacob' is an unoriginal and dull slasher movie. It doesn't have any scares or suspense, and is riddled with bad acting and poor camerawork. That being said, it takes something to make an independent horror movie these days and not back down on your ideas. The only thing 'Jacob' has going for it is buckets of real blood, which should please horror fans and filmmakers with a true passion and love for making horror movies. It's evident throughout the film and extras. This is for true horror fans only.
- 50GB Blu-ray Disc
- "1080p"/AVC MPEG-4
- English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
- Audio commentary by director Larry Wade Carrell, Dylan Horne and Grace Powell
- Audio commentary by Larry Wade Carrell and producer/cinematographer Stacy Davidson
- Deleted and extended scenes with commentary
- Storyboard-to-scene comparison with commentary
- A Killer Cast featurette
- The Production featurette
- Childhood Heroes featurette
- An Award-Winning Score featurette
- Yell! Magazine interview at Jacob's Canadian premiere
- Screen test
- Teaser trailer and preproduction pitch trailer
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