Anything For Jackson (2020, Shudder Exclusive) is a pitch black horror comedy that both subverts the genre and provides a surprising level of heart. As directed by Justin G. Dyck and written by Keith Cooper, Jackson always finds a way to either surprise, creep out, or delight it’s audiences at every turn.
Anything For Jackson centers on an elderly couple, Audrey (Sheila McCarthy) and Henry (Julian Richings). Both actors are amazing and the kind of leads you don’t often find in a low-budget horror movie. Julian Richings is a personal favorite in that he nearly stole every scene in the woefully underseen series, Patriot.
Audrey and Henry seem to be living their best lives, the type of couple who are on the verge of retirement, but also mentally sharp as tacks. They are the type of grandparents who would excitedly tackle some new gadget like an iPhone or the internet, never quite “getting it” but trying their best to keep up with the times. But, in the case of this movie, Audrey and Henry apply that somewhat befuddled enthusiasm to Satanism. Yes, Satanism.
I don’t want to reveal exactly how they want to apply their somewhat incomplete knowledge of the Dark Arts. In fact, I would advise those interested to steer clear of any trailers or plot synopsis. Half of the fun of this movie is discovering the strange ways this story unfolds. Let’s just say, at every turn, both Henry and Audrey find themselves making mistakes, then, with each effort to mend those mistakes, they make an even bigger, often bloodier, mess.
Finally, this movie has stakes. There is an emotional core and drive to all of the insanity and creepiness that informs every decision by our two main characters. I feel lots of low-budget horror movies focus on the gore and the set-pieces but don’t flesh out the forces driving the main characters. Anything For Jackson doesn’t make that mistake.. It is crystal clear why Audrey and Henry continue on their downward spiral.
On the latest Find Your Film episode, Bruce Purkey discusses why Harold and Maude is his favorite movie of all time:
Anything For Jackson isn’t for everyone, but if you are a fan of horror, jet-black comedy, and/or quality cult cinema, this movie is definitely worth your time.
****Anything for Jackson, co-starring Konstantina Mantelos, is now available on Shudder.