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Home | Film Reviews | Film Review: The House That Jack Built (2009)

Film Review: The House That Jack Built (2009)

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A young mother, Hannah Filice is murdered, a brutal crime witnessed by her three year old son, Jack the 3rd. The killer tries to block the horror from the little boy’s eyes, and gently carries the toddler from the gory scene. Twenty years later, Jack the 3rd, a grown young man, awakens from the dream, the same dream he’s had many times over the years and hasn’t been able to fully understand. But that’s soon to change


Directed By: Bruce Reisman
Written By: Kris Black and Bruce Reisman
Starring: Kris Black, Joe Mantegna, Gail O’Grady, Michael Guarnera, Peter Onorati
When a relentless villain dies, their spirit that is left behind to walk the Earth can be more deadly than the actual person, as they continue their path of destruction as a demonic poltergeist. This is the case in Bruce Reisman’s “The House That Jack Built,” when a young man is haunted by his evil grandfather that demands his presence to be known even after his death.

Jack Flice, Jr. is an attractive young male with a problem of recurring nightmares of his grandfather, Jack (Peter Onorati), who tormented his mother while growing up. His gorgeous girlfriend, Madison(Chantelle Barry), is there to comfort him, but his past gives no solace to his life. His father, Jack, Sr.(Joe Mantegna), falls ill and tells his son on his death bed to keep the family legacy alive, and never tear down the house that he built.

Unfortunately, Jack does not withhold his pact with his father, and uses money he makes in his music producing success with partner Dominick(Michael Guarnera) to tear down the house to build a more fitting one for his lavish lifestyle. The movie timeline goes through a year, and while the new house is being built, construction workers are taken out by power tools inexplicably coming to life and killing the unknowing builders. These killings go unmentioned, and the new house is built on the haunted remains of the old forgotten building.

Jack, Jr. decides to have a housewarming party to celebrate the new palace he erected, and invites a band he manages, led by the charming vocalist Tommy(Hal Sparks) to perform. The ghost of Grandfather Jack emerges, and young Jack eventually goes crazy while the spirit tries to ruin his good time. The spirit means business, as he singlehandedly starts taking out various partygoers with different household objects. When Jack demands everyone leaves, the remaining few that stay are subjected to the murderous spirit, and left to deal with Jack’s past as that refuses to die.

“The House That Jack built” is filled unrealistic spiritual happenings, which add to the fictional storyline of the film. The spirit of Grandfather Jack would get in physical fights with some of the characters, which is unbelievable that an entity could harness that much power. The spirits were not very well portrayed in an entity form, as they are shown as humanlike as the actual alive people. The only distinguishing factor was their flashing in and out of appearance, and would vanish quickly at some points. Also, the child that played young Jack, Jr. was very feminine looking, which was kind of confusing when showing the flashbacks of when Jack , Jr. was a young boy watching his mother being tormented by his Grandfather. There are quite a few killing scenes, mostly done with household objects as mentioned before, yet the bloodshed is light besides the actual view of people being murdered mysteriously by the vengeful spirit.

Bruce Reisman’s “The House That Jack Built” tells the story of a seemingly invincible young businessman that learns that his past cannot be erased by tearing down a house full of bad memories. The lesson learned is to deal with demons of the past instead of forgetting them in defiance in this horror/drama flick.

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