Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Halloween Movie Month: Mr. Jones

Mr. Jones (2013)
Netflix instant

Mr. Jones is about a young couple who goes to the woods so that the husband (Scott) can work on creating a nature documentary.  As the documentary fails to live up to his own expectations, the couple stumbles across the art of a reclusive folk artist, known for his bizarre and somewhat disturbing pieces.  After their unexpected discovery, they start doing a documentary on the artwork, including interviews with others who have come into close contact with Mr. Jones's work and the disturbing impacts that it has had on their lives.

Mr. Jones is shot primarily as a found footage film, with a few scenes that do not really fit into the format of the other footage.  I have seen several found footage films over the last year, and none of them have really impressed me.  So, as soon as I saw that this was a found footage film, I found myself viewing it with a more critical, negative lens.  It is not that I hold found footage films to a higher standard (even though I think that it is more difficult to do a found footage film incredibly well) - it's that I tend to not enjoy found footage films as much, so they generally have to work a lot harder for me to enjoy them.

One of the things that I really do not enjoy about found footage films is why some of the stuff is recorded.  Why do they leave the camera on the entire time?  How are they able to have all of the battery and memory to be able to record as much as they do?  I understand that it is part of telling the story.  But, if I suspend disbelief and view the movie as if it really were actual found footage, then the logic behind things just doesn't make sense.  One of the other things that I really do not like about found footage films is when music is included.  Again, if I suspend disbelief and assume it is real, then who went back and added the music?  It just doesn't make sense!

Despite the general complaints about found footage films, this one actually did do some things right.  Since he was recording a nature documentary at first, it makes sense as to why the camera was just always running.  Some of the scenes add to the tension and the claustrophobia since you only see a few feet in front of the camera.  There were some scenes with good suspense and decent startles, but practically all of the scares in the movie are exactly what you would expect them to be.  However, for a Pg-13 movie, Mr. Jones actually does a good job of creating suspense.  There is no gore, no blood, no nudity (breasts can be seen through a white dress, but no full nudity).

Rating and Recommendation:  2/5.  Overall, there were some things that I liked about Mr. Jones.  There were definitely some major shortcomings and some aspects that could have been explained and/or set up better.  And there wasn't really anything about it that made it stand out as amazing.  But, it entertained me enough.  There were some "artistic" decisions that were made that could have really worked out well, but they ended up falling too short.  Aside from some swearing, a suggestive scene, and breasts that can be seen through a white dress, Mr. Jones is a relatively clean horror movie.  I think that it would be appropriate for a slightly younger crowd (not kids, obviously) or people who enjoy some of the aspects of supernatural thrillers without all of the gore and sex.  I didn't go into Mr. Jones with very high expectations, so it ended up being better than I expected...which means that I enjoyed it a little more than I initially thought I would.  I do not know if I would necessarily choose to watch it again on my own, but I would be willing to watch it again if someone else had it on.  I would also recommend it for someone who is just starting out with watching horror movies and enjoys suspense without excessive gore.  But, for someone looking for some major screams, this one is a pass.

Be sure to check back soon for more reviews in Halloween Movie Month!  In the meantime, leave comments on this (or any other) review, follow me here and on twitter (@GargyleReviews), and let me know what movies you'd like for me to review for Halloween Movie Month!

- The Gargyle

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