The Monkey’s Paw

All I’m saying is we all get dealt cards. It’s how you play ’em and man, play yours better than I played mine.

Year Released : 2013

Director : Brett Simmons

Cast : CJ Thomas, Stephen Lang, Michelle Pierce, Corbin Bleu and Daniel Hugh Kelly

So it has been a few weeks since my last review, so we now return to seeming normality and also the infamous “Horror Channel”. For those non-UK residents who haven’t read my previous posts where I mentioned them, the “Horror Channel” is a station on British TV dedicated to showing horror films (and re-runs of the original series of “Star Trek” for some reason), and putting it nicely, the films are often a bit rubbish.

It’s a great source for this review site because if I ever get stuck, I can put the channel on and it will be there with someone that is unheard of, and more often that not it isn’t very good, but after hearing about this on a WhatCulture video the other day, I thought why not give it a go when I saw it advertised.

Optimism is not at a high.

Plot

Jake (Thomas) is having an average day at work when his supervisor Gillespie (Kelly) is fired. When he and Tony (Lang) see Gillespie drinking at a bar that night, they join him and hear about how he has been in possession of a monkey’s paw that grants the user three wishes. He gifts it to Jake, who wishes for a car to be his and amazingly finds the keys in that car when he goes to leave. Whilst driving it, he accidentally causes the death of Tony, so wishes him back to life, leaving him undead.

Tony can’t quite figure out what has happened to him, but he realises that Jake suddenly has the means to allow him to see his family again, threatening him with killing off friends and family until Jake uses his final wish. As Jake refuses, it isn’t long before Tony lives up to his promise.

Was I right not to be optimistic?

“The Monkey’s Paw” is not an original concept, and therefore it is hard to go into it being optimistic for a variety of reasons. It’s a low-budget reboot of an old film, and the concept of having your wishes come true, but not how you’d expect, is a common horror cliche, most recently popularised by films such as the “Wishmaster” franchise, and unfortunately this offers very little to differentiate itself from either the original movies, or other similar horror films.

I’ll start with the positive and that is how good Stephen Lang is as Tony. He is actually a likeable character because of Lang’s portrayal and the motives are fully there, but the same can’t be said for Jake. CJ Thomas is remarkably bland in the lead role and I really couldn’t care less about his issues because of the lack of decent a decent character or portrayal throughout.

Throughout the section of the film where his friends and family are gradually getting killed off one by one, there is just isn’t a reaction there from the character that lasts longer than twenty-thirty seconds. You almost don’t believe that the character genuinely cares after a while, so it is hard to get behind a character like that.

This isn’t a bad film, but the current rating of 4.5/10 on IMDB is about right.

Summary

Not overly bad, but not particular good either. Other than Stephen Lang’s decent performance there isn’t a lot to praise in a largely forgettable horror flick.

This could have been done in a far more engaging way, such as getting a decent protagonist, but I guess we’ll never know.

The “Horror Channel” strikes again!

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