JACKALS (2016) Reviews and overview

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‘Family first’

Jackals is a 2016 American home invasion horror feature film directed by Kevin Greutert (Saw VI; Saw: The Final Chapter) from a screenplay by Jared Rivet. The Tommy Alastra Productions film stars Deborah Kara Unger, Ben Sullivan and Chelsea Ricketts.

Set in the 1980s, an estranged family hires a cult deprogrammer to take back their teenage son from a murderous cult, but find themselves under siege when the cultists surround their cabin, demanding the boy back…

Scream Factory is releasing Jackals to movie theaters, on VOD and on Digital on October 3, 2017.

Reviews [may contain spoilers]:

“If there is a coherent theme to be traced through all of this, it is the failure of the traditional family, and the attraction of alternatives, however negative, that fill in the vacuum – but for the most part Jackals is best regarded as a genre amusement ride, always well crafted if never distinguished enough to achieve genuine cult status.” SciFi Now

“In the wake of the Manson murders, there was a rash of films along the lines of The Night God Screamed in which hippie cults took to terrorising innocent folks – this harks back to that sort of thing, but doesn’t put much thought into its villains’ beliefs […] The characters are sketched but serviceable, and the performances reasonable…” The Kim Newman Web Site

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” …Jackals develops no empathy for any of the protagonists, not even Justin’s former girlfriend and mother of his child, so there’s no reason to care about what happens to them in the end. With little point to proceedings beyond the violence and hysteria wrought large on the screen, Jackals at least doesn’t give us the expected happy ending.” Nerdly

” …Jackals isn’t exactly a feel-good, come-from-behind underdog story. Besides, Justin is so unrepentant and cruel that it’s a wonder the family doesn’t just give him back. And Greutert, a longtime editor, can only hold the tension of the cult members’ threat for so long. Something has to give—and when it does, it’s an explosion of bloody torture that’s excruciating to watch.” RogerEbert.com

“Had the film kept the water boiling at the same intense level as what we saw with the character’s introductions, I may well have been writing a far more positive review. As is – it sadly doesn’t work. Good production values, solid acting and an intense opening can’t make up for the unsympathetic drudgery and pacing issues of the rest of the film.” Horrorfreak News

“…I found myself underwhelmed by the lack of tension throughout and the missing connection I felt to the characters. Having said that, the Jackals’ masks are genuinely creepy, as is the lack of dialogue from behind them. I would have liked to know a little more about the cult, but Jackals probably isn’t the right film for that.” Horror Talk

“Certain sounds and images suggest the influence of Rob Zombie, but Greutert, like many of Zombie’s imitators, isn’t able to replicate the unmooring mixture of comedy and violence that invigorates the former’s cinema, creating an uncomfortably exhilarating kind of chaos. Instead, Jackals smugly wears its hopelessness as a badge of honor.” Slant

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“The family who ‘rescue’ their son from a cult with the intention of having him de-brainwashed are so boring and normal you assume the film is going to side with the cool costumed and masked cult members, but no, it’s just another one of those films where the ‘heroes’ do sillier and sillier things and the ‘villains’ remain a faceless opposition. Eminently missable.” House of Mortal Cinema

” …the film is violent and bloody, which we all want in a slasher. The final scene is incredibly brutal. It’s one of those moments that I want to watch but can’t help but look away just a tad. Jackals gets all my recommendations. This checks all my required boxes for a good home invasion thriller. It’s suspenseful, creepy, scary, and bloody. What more do you need?” Bloody Disgusting

Main cast:

  • Deborah Kara Unger – The HollowSilent Hill
  • Ben Sullivan – Hell on Wheels
  • Chelsea Ricketts – Scream Queens
  • Nick Roux
  • Johnathon Schaech
  • Stephen Dorff – Blade; FeardotcomLeatherface

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