How far would you go for someone you love? Most people say they’d do anything, but how many would turn to satanism? For Henry and Audrey Walsh, an older couple desperate to bring back their lost grandson, satanism is just the beginning.
The titular Jackson died in a car accident some two years before the beginning of this story. His grandparents, completely distraught and desperate, kidnap a young pregnant woman with the intent of performing a sort of reverse exorcism, a ritual to place Jackson’s soul into the woman’s unborn baby. But, of course, these are the dark arts, and this is a horror movie, so they get entirely more than they bargained for.
Playing out over a few days in their large, beautiful home, Henry (Julian Richings) and Audrey (Shiela McCarthy) attempt to bring back Jackson and, in doing so, open the door to other demons and spirits, which begin to taunt them.
Richings and McCarthy are Canadian acting legends, and they put in some incredible work here. The Walshes turned to evil because they’re desperate, not out of some innate character flaw or history. They both act exactly like you’d expect an older on-screen couple to act: loving and supportive. The opening scene of the film, for example, takes place in their kitchen and –in an extended single take– has them discussing what seems to be totally normal plans for a totally normal day, right up until they run out the door and kidnap a woman.
Each character has their own reasons for descending into the darkness, none of which I will spoil here, but McCarthy and Richings bring real humanity to Audrey and Henry, which is strange to think about a pair of Satanists.
Konstantina Mantelos plays Becker, the kidnapped young woman. Her journey through the story requires her to go through the emotional ringer, and she acquits herself well when things get bad. Still, it’s the quiet scenes in between that I liked best, where the craziness slows down, and in her pleading for Audrey and Henry to let her go, Becker learns something new about each of their motivations.
Of course, then there are the demons to consider. You can tell the film had a limited budget, but the designs of the evils that the Walshes unleash are interesting and upsetting. I will not describe any of them for you but prepare to have your skin crawl on more than one occasion.
Director Justin G. Dyck is a veteran of made for TV Christmas movies, which makes Anything for Jackson stand out among his filmography, but based on this; I can’t wait to see what comes next for him.
Anything for Jackson is a film about love and what people will do for it. It has three strong central performances, some chilling practical special effects, and an emotional core that will resonate with every viewer. This is definitely not one to miss.
Anything for Jackson will air on SuperChannel as part of the 2020 Blood in the Snow Festival on Wednesday, October 28th at 6 pm Pacific / 9 pm Eastern.