Sadie dotes on six year old son Jacob. He is her only source of comfort and her only true friend. But, deep down Sadie has always known that there is something not quite right about ‘her boy’. That is why she tries to keep him out of sight from the rest of the world. For years she has dealt with the strange noises in the night, nightmares and ghostly apparitions but when friends and family start to meet with brutal and tragic ends Sadie is left with no choice. It’s time to accept the truth and confront the evil… Jacob’s Hammer… When a mother’s love is no defence…
I have nothing against twist endings. When they’re done right, it can really up the “Holy Crap!” factor of a film. Sadly, this device only works effectively MAYBE twenty percent of the time. The other eighty percent is forced, predictable, or just plain unbelievable within the context of the story being told. With the 2012 film JACOB’S HAMMER, two out of the three apply. The twist is only part of the problem with the film, you can also throw in pacing, editing, and acting to name a few. The film tries so hard to be something special or important but the whole experience will leave you feeling empty and disappointed. That’s not to say writer/director Angie Bojtler didn’t try her best to make an engaging film, I just think budget and lack of experience were key factors. It’s not complete trash by any means, it just falls very short in most areas.
Sadie (Helen Holman) is growing increasingly worried about her son Jacob (Luis James Farouk). She’s a single mother struggling with his behavior. His behavior isn’t just the typical rotten child type, she feels he might have been born of pure evil. When I say pure evil, I mean, he appears to enjoy taking a hammer and crushing the skulls of the people in their lives. Sadie seeks help from her priest, even her mother, but there’s nothing they can do to stop his vicious killing spree. While desperately trying to keep a grip on her sanity, she will have to take a cold, hard look at her son to see if he really is what she fears him to be.
The first thing you will notice about JACOB’S HAMMER is the inexperience, it’s plastered within every frame of the film. Some of it is easily overlooked but much will be hard to digest. The cinematography suffers the most in the film. Lighting is a major issue, making it difficult to see what’s happening during the night scenes. The natural light works during the outside stuff but the indoor and outdoor night shots look terrible. The acting is o.k., not great but tolerable. There is however some some hilarious moments of over acting when it comes to people falling. There might have been a couple of decent kill scenes but the effects weren’t anything that stood out at all. I guess that’s part of the problem, nothing ever really stands out, it moves along and never really changes gears.
I will say the relationship between Helen Holman’s character and Diane Rimmer’s was quite believable, the mother-daughter dynamic was there. If the film did one thing right, it was pairing these two actresses together. The rest of the cast didn’t fare too well, they’re decent but no single performance stood out. I’m not discrediting their abilities, I just feel that the overall inexperience of everyone involved was to blame. I’ll applaud Bojtler for completing her first feature but I would also have to say, better luck next time. You live and learn and I’m sure she will learn from her mistakes when moving on to the next project.
The story was interesting but convoluted. The ending was forced, predictable, and disappointing. Trying to get through the entire feature felt like a task even when the runtime was far less than ninety minutes. I usually enjoy killer kid flicks but this one pretty much soiled me on them for awhile. I can’t really recommend JACOB’S HAMMER to anyone for any reason. Watch at your own risk but know this, it’s disappointing on every level, it delivers nothing, no surprises, or no thrills. There are couple of unintentional laughs but they’re not enough to warrant a view. I will honestly say that I felt as if my time had been wasted after it was over. Do yourself a favor and just try to avoid JACOB’S HAMMER, trust me, you’ll thank me for it later. * (out of 5)