Mr. Jones (2013)

Directed By: Karl Mueller
Written By: Karl Mueller
Starring: Jon Foster
  Sarah Jones
  Mark Steger
  Faran Tahir
Mr. Jones

After young couple Scott and Penny retreat to the woods to film a nature documentary, they get more than they bargain for when they stumble across a number of mysterious rudimentary statues, the work of the famous yet reclusive and equally mysterious artist, Mr. Jones. Deciding to change their course a little, they instead choose to make Mr. Jones the subject of their documentary; however, the more they look into him the more their reality steadily unravels around them…

Mr. Jones is ultimately what happens when someone has a great concept yet lacks the skill to execute it effectively. It starts off with a fantastic premise – a sort of a hyper-sterilised Antichrist with echoes of The Blair Witch Project thrown in – but soon gets totally muddled up inside itself in act three.

One of the many troubles Mr Jones has is that it just doesn’t know what it’s supposed to be. It opens as a found footage movie, transitions inexplicably to a half-edited documentary, before giving up altogether and opting for a standard, run-of-the-mill film structure. It lacks the consistency that makes found footage / mockumentary horror movies often so engaging; if the film can’t maintain its own lore it makes it tricky for the audience to play along as well…especially when the ultimate conclusion is so flimsy and confusing.

It also, unfortunately, succumbs to the fate many horror movies do; that of having characters who are complete and utter imbiciles. What is it about dodgily-written horror films and characters who have absolutely zero concept of personal safety? If you find yourself alone in the dark catacombs below the house of a man with a penchant for making statues of scarecrows with only a walkie-talkie as your link to the outside world and the line suddenly dies, you get the hell out of there. What you don’t do is carry on deeper into the tunnels, find yourself in what is clearly a shrine dedicated to Wurzel Gummidge, and then steal something from it. Tell that to Scott, though…

Any tension the film manages to create throughout the first two thirds is abruptly thrown out of the window once it draws to a close; the more the film reveals, the more of a clusterfuck it becomes.

It’s not all bad, however; it opens promisingly, with the eponymous Mr. Jones ghosting his way eerily into the background of a number of shots, the cinematography is lovely and the concept itself holds promise…it’s just a shame that the opportunity wasn’t seized, since there’s genuinely some pretty smart ideas behind it.

Rating: ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

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