Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 27, 2021)
Given its title, 2020’s Anything For Jackson sounds like a buddy comedy or an uplifting drama. Instead, it brings us grim horror tale.
A car accident leads to the death of a young boy named Jackson (Daxton William Lund). This leaves his grandparents Audrey (Sheila McCarthy) and Henry Walsh (Julian Richings) despondent.
Unable to move on from their loss, Audrey and Henry kidnap pregnant Shannon Becker (Konstantina Mantelos). They intend to conduct a “reverse exorcism” and infuse Shannon‘s unborn child with Jackson’s spirit, a dark game that doesn’t go as intended.
Huh – who would expect messing with satanic rituals might lead down ugly paths? Anyone who ever watched a movie, pretty much.
To be sure, Anything shows an awareness of its forebears. In particular, the film gives off clear echoes of 1968’s classic Rosemary’s Baby.
Both movies involve elderly people who attempt to subvert a pregnancy for their own ends. It seems impossible to believe those involved with Anything didn’t recognize these links.
That said, Anything merely reflects Baby. It doesn’t feel like a ripoff, as it uses the similar circumstances more as inspiration than anything else.
Really, the Baby elements essentially vanish after the first act anyway. Once you get past the general premise, the two stories diverge pretty clearly, as Anything becomes more about the aftermath of the grandparents’ actions.
These manage to take Anything down some reasonably intriguing paths. While I can’t claim the film offers something tremendously compelling as it goes, it does find interesting choices and twists along the way.
The actors manage to infuse their roles with the appropriate tones as well. In particular, McCarthy – perhaps best-remembered as spunky reporter Samantha Coleman in 1990’s Die Hard 2 - brings gravity to her role along with a slightly unhinged quality necessary for the character.
Anything suffers somewhat from a lack of a strong plot, as it can feel like a bunch of scenes built around its narrative notion. We don’t find an especially tight story here.
Nonetheless, Anything comes with enough grim energy to carry it. Though not a great horror flick, it becomes a mostly involving one.