The Jack in the Box: Awakening (2022) – Film Review
Director: Lawrence Fowler
Cast: Matt McClure, Mollie Hindle, James Swanton
By @Roger Crow
When terminally ill heiress Olga Marsdale acquires a mysterious gothic box containing a captured demon, there are no prizes for guessing what its name is.
They trap several unsuspecting folks for him within the vast mansion – but can they deliver all six before it’s too late? Or will Amy, the young and innocent woman recently hired to look after the estate turn out to be more than a match for both the family… and The Jack?
This follow-up to Lawrence Fowler’s 2019 offering (just called The Jack in the Box) is a Faustian tale which starts with a great set-up, and a killer jump scare. But everything is just a bit stagey. Valuable exposition is stilted as Edgar explains his mother’s condition to the new help. Which is fine if they’re actually doing something. Alas it’s just so static.
There is a good gag involving the main gate, which looks like one of the containment units for Ghostbusters. It takes an age to whir into life, as we’re witness to in the first few minutes. Hmm, you wonder if that’s going to pay off in the third act.
As things unfold, the viewer gets to witness one of the schlockiest monsters to grace a screen in many a full moon.
The closing credits list just about every member of the orchestra, which feels like I’m stuck at work editing listings for a classical radio channel. Not that most people pay attention to the closing credits. The problem is this may have all the right ingredients from the Hellraiser-style set up, with the intriguing demon, to the obligatory run through the woods and heroine inevitably falling over. Just once I’d like to see a protagonist flee from a bad guy without tripping up.
I’m always in awe of anyone who can get a film funded and made, but this needed more energy, whether it involves characters walking and talking to set up the premise, or just a heroine who did more than fall over at key points.
Good effort, but more thinking out of the box would have helped avoid that nagging sense of deja vu.