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The Monkey's Paw (2013)



Synopsis

Jake is given a Monkey's Paw that grants 3 wishes. After the first 2 wishes leave his friend Cobb undead, Cobb pushes Jake to make a final wish.




Review

Loosely based on the short story by W. W. Jacobs this version of The Monkey's Paw is somewhat of a more modern story. Jake Tilton is given the monkey's paw by an ex-coworker, and then in the throws of some drink driving is in a car accident, where his passenger, Tony Cobb is thrown from the car and dies. Jake, of course, wishes that Tony wasn't dead - not expecting anything to happen - and Tony returns to life.

Aside from having a "be careful what you wish for" paw in the film, there really is little similarity between this and the original story. Less, here, is the creeping dread and moral choice, more the running, driving, punching for the Scream generation.

That said, it's not a bad film.

Going into this expecting a Victorian gothic tale will leave you cold. It's very much in the PG-13 remake aisle of film-making. It's fun, full of action, and has some pretty good performances. The adaptation comes from writer Macon Blair (I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore.) who has more of a background in acting than writing. It's not going to getting people knocking down his door for more, but for what the team are trying to achieve it does it's job. Much the same can be said for the work of director, Brett Simmons (Husk), it's a serviceable job that allows the film to move forward, it keeps a good pace, the horror scenes are good. It's just not really built to be scary.


 

The standout is by far the acting. Cobb is portrayed by Stephen Lang (Don't Breathe), stretching his range from the affable, slightly simple friend with a heart at the beginning of the film, with a turn on a dime to being the undead killer with purpose. He's an severely under-appreciated actor with talents spewing over the celluloid here. Then the powerhouse of Charles S. Dutton (Legion) swaggers on film, and there is a fabulous turn from Corbin Bleu (Mystery Men). Lead actor, C.J. Thomason (Harper's Island) does a good job as Jake, but bears the brunt of having so many great actors around him.

With a surprisingly effectual final act, it works pretty well for a film barely attaining the trophy title of horror. It's got some decent enough kills, but the outstanding cast makes it one that can be enjoyed as, say, an action/chiller?

Don't seek it out, but if it's on, it's worth a look.





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