“After he went boating, he had to return to where his adventure began. JACK GOES HOME.” Okay, well, maybe that’s not actually the tagline for this movie, but it should be! Granted, Jack Goes Home has no connection to Jack Goes Boating, but Jack goes somewhere in both of these movies, so I wanted to start a campaign for the “Jack Goes Cinematic Universe.” He’ll go to the store, go to Vietnam, go to the bathroom…Jack Goes Everywhere! Oooh, maybe that will be the last movie. Anyways, time to learn what happened to Jack when he went home!
“Listen, we need to talk about Kingpin…”
After learning that his father died in a horrible car accident, Jack (Rory Culkin) leaves his pregnant wife behind to help his mom (Lin Shaye) deal with the funeral arrangements. While home, he reconnects with old friends, spends time with his mom, meets an overly friendly neighbor, and discovers a cassette tape with a mysterious recording from when Jack was a baby. The tape features Jack’s father telling Jack to investigate the attic, whenever he hears the tape, which Jack now finds in the present to be locked. When Jack confronts his mother, he learns that the mysteries have only just begun, and he realizes that going home might be the biggest mistake he’s ever made and that some memories of home are best left forgotten.
Starring Cillian Murphy Culkin!
Okay, firstly, I’d like to apologize for how vague that description is because it sounds like I’m paid to cryptically market the film. BUT NO, I’m just trying to help! Ya see, what makes this movie so engaging is the dark and disturbing turns the plot takes. For a good chunk of its running time, Jack Goes Home feels like Garden State with a much more somber soundtrack. Remember when Natalie Portman dances around or something and then Zach Braff admits he was the reason his mom was in a wheelchair, and it was a big shock? Okay, well imagine the big shock was something WAY more fucked up, and that’s more like Jack Goes Home. Unfortunately, like Garden State, there’s some hokey melodrama that you have to put up with about family and friends and all that crap, but if you can tolerate that, you’ll be golden!
See? Boys can cry and bleed in the shower, too!
Although Garden State by way of We Need to Talk About Kevin might be a fantastic combination for some audiences, I’m unfortunately not one of those people. I couldn’t really connect with the more melodramatic elements about going home and haven’t had to experience the types of trauma shown in the film (luckily), so I never got emotionally invested in the characters or the story. Also, even though this isn’t a traditional horror film, the film goes to some truly horrific places and the last act features some very macabre elements and themes that felt artificially unsettling. Don’t get me wrong, I love some dark and depressing movies, but the last act gets to Von Trier-esque places, but it neither looks as beautiful as his films, carries the same messages of those films, or earns the depravity of those films. But hey! The performances are all good and if my biggest gripe is “it’s just not for me,” that’s pretty good! Luckily, you are not me, so if you like non-traditional horror thrillers, then Jack Goes Home is absolutely worth checking out!
Wolfman Moon Scale