Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mr. Jones Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Allie Schembra
“Who is Mr. Jones?”  To some, he is an enigmatic artist, with a unique vision of humanity and our place in the spiritual universe.  To others, his very name conjures unimaginable primal fears.  But for two young people, he will become their worst nightmare.  Scott (Jon Foster, Stay Alive) and Penny (Sarah Jones, Sons of Anarchy) just moved to a remote cabin to escape the pressures of the world and breathe new life into their art.  But they’ll soon discover they are not alone:  an infamously reclusive artist – known only as “Mr. Jones” – lives nearby.  He doesn’t like to be disturbed, and only comes out at night when he drags his strange, sinister sculptures deep in the woods.  When Scott and Penny’s curiosity leads then too close for Mr. Jones’ comfort, he plunges the young couple into a nightmare world of mayhem and mind-bending terror.  Diane Neal (Law and Order: SVU), Mark Steger (I am Legend) and David Clennon (John Carpenter’s The Thing) co-star in this startling tale from debut director Karl Mueller (screenwriter of Xavier Gens’ The Divide).
Film (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Scott and Penny have left their city life behind and moved to an isolated house in the woods. Scott is trying to make a documentary on the peacefulness of the woods. Penny has given up her career and friends to move with Scott and when Scott spends weeks not filming anything, she begins to get frustrated. One day, as Scott is sitting and filming, a man comes up behind him and takes his backpack, which has the house and car keys. He follows the man and discovers a house in the woods and rushes back to get Penny.

When Scott and Penny enter the house, Penny realizes that the house belongs to the reclusive artist, Mr. Jones. As they explore the house, they find the basement and see all his strange sculptures. Before they can leave, Mr. Jones returns to the house and enters the basement. Scott and Penny hide and Penny creates a distraction and they escape the house. That night, strange things start happening and soon after, Scott leaves for New York to conduct some interviews on his new documentary about Mr. Jones. Penny remains at the house and takes photos of the strange sculptures in the woods.

As she’s taking photos, the reclusive Mr. Jones appears to adjust his sculptures. Penny tries talking to him, but he doesn’t respond. Penny leaves and hides in the woods and watches him throughout the night placing his sculptures and adjusting them but firelight. When Scott returns, she tells him what she saw and they decide to return to the house. Penny remains outside while Scott goes back into the basement of Mr. Jones’ house. After finding a secret passage, he explores under the house until strange things start happening. He finally makes it back outside and they return home and wait for a morning that never comes.

Mr. Jones was terrifying to me. I spent probably a quarter of the film with my hands over my eyes, watching through my fingers. The actors did an excellent job of showing how terrified they were in the situations. Sarah Jones was a great Penny and she was very believable as Penny, the partner who gave up everything to support Scott’s dream. Mr. Jones is a creepy edge-of-your-seat film that keeps the viewer attentive and wondering what’s going to come out of the dark behind the characters. The question of “Who is Mr. Jones?” is sort of, but not really, answered. You think you know, but by the end, you are left wondering if he’s even real.
Video (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The widescreen 1080p presentation of Mr. Jones was pretty good.  There is a lot of darkness and sometimes the shadows blended too much into the dark and it was difficult to see what was coming up behind the characters, but when it was clear, the video was good.  Much of the film is in the dark and at night, so there is a lot of black, blue and candlelight.  I really enjoyed when the camera was in the dark, not having that green night vision look that cameras have.  Having the characters holding a flashlight and using that to light their way while also holding the camera was a good effect and made the film more believable.  When it was daylight, the camera work was realistic when filming outside, with the sun reflections and haziness of the location.
Audio (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Mr. Jones is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 with English SDH and Spanish subtitles.  The sound is also really good.  There are whispers throughout the film and they are clear and easily heard.  The moments when Scott and Penny are using walkie-talkies are clear and you can hear what they are saying though the devices.  I watched the film for many moments covering my eyes and during those moments, I was just listening to what was happening and it was still terrifying.  Mr. Jones is a film that is just as creepy with the sound as it is with the picture.
Extras (0 out of 5 stars)
There are no extras for Mr. Jones.  I was disappointed because I wanted to see how they came up with the sculpture concept and why they made some of the filming decisions they made.  I was also hoping there would be the finished version of Scott’s documentary available.  I’m not a huge fan of extras on discs, I will be the first to admit that, but when a film leaves me wanting extras, I know I’ve enjoyed it.
Summary (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Mr. Jones loses points because of the lack of extras… not for any other reason. The film was scary, had me watching through the cracks between my fingers and left me so stressed out; I was exhausted after watching it. It’s definitely a movie to watch when you want to be scared… it’s not so much a come-at-you-from-behind film, but more of a “holy cow, you better get out of that space/location/area ASAP” kind of film. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of parts where the characters come close to getting caught, and where things are coming at the characters, but the psychological aspect of the terror is much more defined and focused on. Mr. Jones is definitely a film I will watch again – perhaps even without having to cover my eyes!

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