Movie Review: The Jack in the Box (2019)

Synopsis: Still in mourning over the murder of his fiancée, American Casey Reynolds moves to England and takes a job at a small museum. While sorting through artifacts, he discovers an old Jack in the box toy and turns the handle to make the clown pop out. What Casey doesn't know is the "Jack" in this toy is also a demon and, now that it's been released, will kill six people.

Who's in it? The movie stars Ethan Taylor, Robert Strange, Lucy-Jane Quinlan, Philip Ridout and Darrie Gardner.

Review: It had been a few days since my wife and I had watched a movie together and I had seen The Jack in the Box on Amazon Prime. I didn't know a whole lot about this movie, other than it seemed to be popular enough to generate sequels, but I didn't find anything that looked better, so we gave it a try.

Overall, I'd say this wasn't a terrible movie. However, it also wasn't one of the better ones we've watched.

I think the biggest problem for me was the slow pacing of this film. The movie is only 87 minutes long, but it feels considerably longer. There are just a lot of dragged-out unimportant scenes and not enough of the killer clown/demon murdering people and dragging them into the box, which is disappointing because that part of the movie was actually somewhat intriguing, and the demon has the right terrifying look.

It also didn't help that the demon (Strange) didn't seem to have any real rules, other than it killed six people before returning to the box. This in itself wouldn't have been a big deal, but there were plenty of times when it could have gotten its quota filled but, for unexplained reasons, opted not to. I understood why Casey (Taylor) got a free pass but why did the demon wait so long to kill the others on its list? And why six people? It seemed like such a random number, almost as though the demon was only allowed to kill just enough people to bring the movie to a close.

I couldn't even say the ending of the film made up for things because it really didn't. The ending was basically telegraphed once Casey learned how to defeat it and there were zero surprises as a result. Not to mention the ending relies on some of the worst police work ever shown in a film, making it even less believable than the whole demon in a box thing.

In fact, this was one of those movies that was in desperate need of an unexpected twist. For example, based on the way Casey obsessed over his fiancée's murder, I would have loved it if he turned out to be the killer and just imagined the demon. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case and the whole dead fiancée thing really had no impact on the movie at all, other than as filler material.

Final Opinion: I'm tempted to watch one of the sequels just to see if things get better or if the filmmakers just didn't know when to quit. However, as far as this movie goes, I didn't think it was anything special. 

My Grade: C-


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