THE MONKEY’S PAW (2013) Reviews and overview

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‘One wish. A thousand regrets.’

The Monkey’s Paw is a 2013 American supernatural horror feature film directed by Brett Simmons (Husk) from a screenplay by Macon Blair based on the 1902 short story of the same name by W. W. Jacobs. The Chiller Films production stars C.J. Thomason, Stephen Lang, Michelle Pierce and Corbin Bleu.

After Jake Tilton (C.J. Thomason) acquires a mystical “monkey’s paw” talisman that grants its possessor three wishes, he finds his world turned upside-down after his first two wishes result in his malevolent coworker, Tony Cobb (Stephen Lang), being resurrected from the dead.

When Cobb pressures Jake into using the final wish to reunite Cobb with his son, his intimidation quickly escalates into relentless murder – forcing Jake to outwit his now psychotic friend and save his remaining loved ones…


” …The Monkey’s Paw presents characters that are too busy being plot devices to react to the murders unfolding around them. And, as is also depressingly common in this genre, acting like complete assholes is as close as the characters get to expressing recognizable human emotions.” Alisdair Wilkins, A.V. Club

“While the film has the requisite amount of gruesome violence, there’s a certain tonally dissociative quality here that keeps the events depicted from ever working up much momentum. Part of this may in fact be due to Jake’s kind of passive qualities, but sharper screenwriting might have helped deliver a more frightening version of the tale.” Jeffrey Kaufman,

“Rock steady acting from the entire cast keeps the plates spinning constantly though, and the characters usually find a way to pull the movie back from a cliffside chasm of complete mediocrity. The Monkey’s Paw ticks every box on its To Do list of offering simple chills and suitable charms…” Ian Sedensky, Culture Crypt

” …fails for its overall generic-ness from the rudimentary plotting to the use of the overplayed New Orleans setting including Dixieland jazz, palm readings, a bar called “Gator’s Den” […] and a climax set during Mardi Gras. Thomason makes for a likeable lead while Pierce is pretty but forgettable.” Eric Cotenas, DVD Drive-In

“The characters are admittedly thin, but their behavior is not so arbitrary as to distract from the fun of watching them get bumped off – this is essentially a zombie slasher, after all – and the performances more than serve the turn […] The kills aren’t excessively splattery, but don’t shy away from showing the red stuff either.” Horror 101 with Doctor AC

“The script updates and expands the mythology of the classic tale with initial promise, but frequently pulls back before following an idea all the way through. One example is the lack of interest in learning anything more about the supernatural talisman, even when in the presence of a psychic.” Horror Talk

” …not a great film by any stretch, but not a complete disaster, either. Genre fans might get a kick out of it, and there are one or two above-average performances. It’s tough to get too excited about this, though. It’s competent, and hits the expected beats, and little more.” David Maine, Pop Matters

” …one’s interest in all this dwindles considerably as the anticlimactic conclusion approaches, with the end result a disappointingly half-baked horror endeavor that could (and should) have been much, much better.” David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews

Cast and characters:

  • C. J. Thomason … Jake Tilton – The Brotherhood 2: Young Warlocks
  • Stephen Lang … Tony Cobb – Don’t Breathe
  • Michelle Pierce … Olivia
  • Corbin Bleu … Catfish – Nurse 3D
  • Daniel Hugh Kelly … Gillespie – Cujo
  • Charles S. Dutton … Detective Margolis – Alien 3
  • Tauvia Dawn … Abby
  • Andy Favreau … Kevin
  • Grayson Berry … Charlie
  • Sabrina Gennarino … Sandy Tilton
  • John Lewis … Officer Boudreaux
  • Adella Gautier … Fortune Teller
  • Brooklyn Proctor … Kathleen
  • Jacob Robinson … Young Gillespie
  • Jason Stanly … Gillespie’s Father


The Monkey’s Paw was released on DVD and Blu-ray by Shout! Factory on their Scream Factory label on June 17, 2014.

Image credits: Horror 101 with Doctor AC

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