Monday, October 10, 2016

Mr. Jones (2013)

Whoooo boy. Okay.

Another tagline for this as well as the one above, is a quote taken direct from the film itself: "If you see him, RUN."

That applies for when you see this come up on Netflix as a suggestion too, just fyi.

So let's begin with the plot, because it isn't half bad. Married couple Scott and Penny move to the desert so that Scott can pursue his dream of making a nature documentary. However, not long after their relocation, he's lost interest in the idea and begins to have doubts about not only the doc, but everything in his life.

When the couple discover a house not far from theirs, and decide to trespass all the way down into the basement, they find eerie scarecrow-like totems everywhere. These things are incredibly cool (if you like that kind of thing) and Penny recognises them as the work of a mysterious artist by the name of, you guessed it: Mr. Jones.

The excitement of this discovery, plus a new direction for the documentary stirs both Scott and Penny into life, and he briefly travels to NYC to interview some folks about what they know of Mr. Jones. One of the interviewees, an obviously tortured soul, is the guy who lends his words to the aforementioned other tagline. Unfortunately for our two main characters, this warning is dismissed without a second thought.

And the film continues on, with shadowy figures in the woods, more forays into deeper basements and a hell of a lot of shots like this:

Did I mention this is a found footage movie?

Now I feel like I have a high tolerance for found footage, but Mr. Jones tested those limits. It wasn't even the shaky-cam seasick thing, either. It's more the question of why they bothered to keep the camera rolling most of the time.

With all of the playing around with light and dark, and LOUD NOISES, maybe this worked better in the cinema than it does at home; but I couldn't help but think that some filmmakers need to learn that being made to jump and being scared are not necessarily the same thing.

There's only so many times you can trot out a the same kind of jump scare, or a reveal of someone standing in a dark corner before it becomes old and tired.

Ditto the characters making bad decisions. Even in horror, the genre built on a foundation of "why are you going in there" and "why are you doing that", when I'm forced to watch two chumps doing dumb shit over and over again, my eye-rolls are going to start to drown out my nerves.

The last 30mins or so of Mr. Jones really loses it, to the point where every time it cut to black - and it did this a lot - I was praying for the credits to roll. I don't even think I fully understood the ending of this film, but I really don't care!

There was also a pointless numbering of days at the start of the movie. "Day 51" it stated ominously, but then proceeded to do nothing with.

A shame that such an interesting idea, of eerie totems and what they could represent (and possibly be spreading) is squandered on cheap scares and nonsense.

This has more than a dash of Blair Witch about it, but don't be fooled. Reader, heed my warning: RUN.

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