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January 25, 2011

Movie Review: The Killing Of Jacob Marr (2010)

It’s been close to a year since we started doing film reviews on the Cinema Head Cheese website. As you can see from the content , indie features are very much a part of what we like to focus on. I myself have discovered the work of some very talented independent filmmakers because of this. The ones that come to mind most prominently that I’ve enjoyed covering are Ryan Nicholson( Hanger, Gutterballs, Bleading Lady) Chris Power (Long Pigs) and Chad Ferrin (Easter Bunny Kill! Kill!, Someone’s Knocking at My Door). I’m sure there are some solid filmmakers that I’ve excluded, but these guys stand out from the pack. Right now, I might have to add another filmmaker to the list, Brad Rego.

The Killing of Jacob Marr is written, produced and directed by Rego, it’s also his first feature. The opening of the film begins beautifully with young Jacob Marr (Joshua Bednarsky), a borderline autistic teen, is shown fiddling around with his Atari 2600. That is until his father (Gerard Savoy) interrupts his game playing by ordering him to go chop some wood. Jacob chops some wood alright, he also plants the axe in very graphic fashion (similar to the opening in Pieces) in papa’s skull. Why did lil’ Jake do this? Could it be the mysterious rock that he picked up whilst chopping logs.

Twenty years after the incident, a group of friends from work decide to make a trip to the log cabin where Jacob and his family lived. There is a new owner, a friend of Ted (Morgan White)who seems to leave things nice and homey for the twenty-somethings. The only problem is , is that theirs someone trying to spoil their vacation. Is Jacob still alive?

The acting in The Killing Of Jacob Marr is above average for a genre film. Instead of using friends, family members and investors (like so many shitty independents do) , Rego got together some folks that could actually deliver lines like humans do normally. The charachters aren’t just in the film to be killed off as tension and suspense is as much apart of the film as the explicit gore . This is very much a slasher film, but with some supernatural dropped in, to mix it up a bit. The body count isn’t high, but when people do die they get really messed up, as heads are ripped off in grisly fashion, bodies are disemboweled, sharp objects saw apart flesh and so on.

The title, The Killing Of Jacob Marr sounds a little more like a crime-thriller. When I put the movie in the DVD player, I was totally expecting Judd Hirsch to pop on screen to tell a young mother that their toddler was snatched at Chucky Cheese. I didn’t expect an 80s slasher throwback with solid acting and lovely production value. The writing is also excellent, and because of this the tension builds quite nicely as our unlucky group are stuck in the log cabin. I do think it should have been a little shorter to make it a bit more tight. A few snips here and there, really nothing too drastic.

Watching an indie film that succeeds is really a cool thing. The Killing of Jacob Marr, is without a doubt a fine debut by Rego that hopefully opens the path to other projects. Over the past few years there have been several films that have been branded as perfect 80’s slasher throw-backs – like Adam Green’s, Hatchet for instance. The Killing of Jacob Marr truly has its heart set in that wonderfully productive decade known as the 80’s, when slashers were unapologetic and gritty. Highly Reccomeneded

Please be sure to check out the website for The Killing Of Jacob Marr here:

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