ANYTHING FOR JACKSON (2020)

(AMC+/SHUDDER/VOD) ANYTHING FOR JACKSON is the rare character-forward horror film that also holds more than a few delightfully gory frights, almost to the point where it feels like it commentary on the horror community.

The premise is stock horror: grandparents Audrey (Sheila McCarthy, I’VE HEARD THE MERMAIDS SINGING) and Henry Walsh (the extremely distinctive Julian Richings, who has appeared in any genre show you’ve watched over the past decade) are grandparents who kidnap a pregnant woman to bring their grandchild back to life via black magic. However, the Walshes are more empathetic and human than most horror films would treat them, and the film takes its time peeling away the layers to detail the steps as to how the grandparents ended up making a deal with the devil.

ANYTHING FOR JACKSON was directed by Justin G. Dyck, and written by Dyck and Keith Cooper, both of whom have worked together on a number of conventional made-for-TV Christmas movies (A CHRISTMAS VILLAGE, CHRISTMAS WEDDING PLANNER), which I suspect helped them to shape this subversive horror piece, as it feels like they’re used to flexing within genre constraints in ways that will surprise you.

(I’d suggest skipping the trailer, as it spoils a few startling moments, plus it’s not exactly a finely honed teaser.)