Mr. Jones – USA, 2013 – overview and reviews

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If you see him… run’

Mr. Jones is a 2013 American horror feature film written and directed by Karl Mueller, making his feature debut. It stars Jon Foster and Sarah Jones.

While filming, Mueller was inspired by director David Lynch and the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and wanted to design the film’s soundtrack to “make it feel like you’re underwater, or in somebody’s head and they have a bad cold.”

He was also inspired by the memory of a neighbour of his during childhood in Minnesota, as the man had lived in a “primitive shack of a cabin with no running water, trapped animals and hung them up around the woods. He had lots of bizarre farming equipment overgrown by weeds around his house. He was the boogieman we made up stories about to scare ourselves at night.”

Penny (Sarah Jones) is on her way out to the woods to help her boyfriend Scott (Jon Foster) make a nature documentary. The two end up fighting, as Scott has not fully planned out his documentary and Penny had given up a good job to come help him. Things turn strange when one of Scott’s possessions is stolen, prompting the two to seek it out. They end up finding a cabin filled with various strange, weird artefacts and figures.

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They eventually realise that the cabin is the home of Mr. Jones (Mark Steger), an elusive artist who sends his artwork to random people with no rhyme or reason. Scott investigates the mythology and rumours surrounding Mr. Jones with the intent to make him the subject of his next documentary, despite warnings that he stay far away from the man in question…

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

” … a thriller with a promising outsider-art premise that ultimately gets too wrapped up in mystical, reality-questioning headgames to tell a satisfying story. That failing and an annoying spin on the found-footage trope shouldn’t hurt much with genre auds, who will enjoy the distinctive atmosphere of this sometimes beautiful film.” John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

“But as beautiful and creatively shot as the first half of the movie is, Mr. Jones takes an unfortunate turn at around the halfway mark. Much of the handheld camera work becomes shakier as the characters are in situations where they need to run. And everything eventually breaks down into disjointed, dream-like, choppy scenes.” Scott Hallam, Dread Central

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“Their encounters with the silent creepster, in and out of his subterranean lair, are spooky, but Mr. Jones ultimately warps into a self-absorbed ode to its own making. By film’s end, it implies through easy montage barfs of Scott’s unedited doc footage that the story’s boogeyman isn’t so much scaring Scott and Penny as the couple is scaring themselves by trying to unravel the mystery of his identity.” Ed Gonzalez, Slant

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“You can’t really dip into dream logic if you have nary a single eye-popping visual, and in doing so, Mueller completely wastes a unique, potentially durable concept: just imagine a hooded monster in the woods making a side-living as an avant-garde darling of the art world. The movie you’ve now visualized in your head is probably a good deal more interesting than Mr. Jones.” Gabe Toro, Indiewire

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Buy: Blu-ray | DVD | Instant Video from Amazon.com

“An assaulting, strobing, surreal sprint through the forest, Chris and Penny keep encountering frightening visions of themselves and each other; the strangeness on display specifically recalling Lynch in its colors and frightening duality. It’s also massively frustrating. The choppy, jerking style employed by Mueller becomes abrasive in the extended sequence…” Samuel Zimmerman, Fangoria

Cast and characters:

  • Jon Foster … Scott
  • Sarah Jones … Penny
  • Mark Steger … Mr. Jones
  • Faran Tahir … The Anthropologist
  • Stanley B. Herman … The Old Journalist
  • Ethan Sawyer … Alleged Scarecrow Recipient
  • Jordan Byrne … Peter Cavagnaro
  • David Clennon … The Curator
  • Jessica Dowdeswell … Penny
  • Diane Neal … The Scholar
  • Rachel O’Meara … The Skeptic

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Buy: DVD | Blu-ray from Amazon.co.uk

Filming locations:

Santa Clarita, California

 

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