Jackhammer Massacre (2004) Review {by Tim Walker}

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(The following review was contributed by Tim Walker. Tim also writes for his own blog, here.)


The film begins with a few panoramic shots of California, then cuts to a large car pulling up outside a shabby looking warehouse in a run down part of the city. Two men step out of the car and proceed to break into the warehouse, these crooks then start wandering around the warehouse looking and calling for a man called Jack. Eventually one of the crooks finds Jack, who is sleeping on a mattress on the warehouse floor. Jack is clearly a junkie; he is practically dressed in rags, he has a dirty bandage on the inner elbow of his left arm, along with an array of unpleasant skin conditions. The thug that found him starts asking for the money that Jack owes him, and eventually knocks Jack out. The two thugs then in an attempt kill Jack, inject a mix of; PCP, Heroine and Meth straight into his neck, and thinking that Jack is in his final moments they start walking away. But because of the kind of film this is, one of the thugs finds a really dumb reason to stay behind just a little bit too long for his own good. The next thing we see is Jack, who is very much still alive, using a jackhammer to perform some major reconstruction work on the thugs face. After this scene the opening credits roll.

The film then cuts to one year earlier, and we see Jack who is not a desperate disease ridden junkie, he is in fact a well dressed high-flying businessman with a Dodge Viper. He is on his way to meet an old friend called Mike, who is a massive dick-face to his girlfriend, and pretty much an instantly dis-likeable character. The two of them drive over to a pretty dodgy looking part of town, where they both get out and start walking to a secluded house. On the way they bump into the two most irritating characters in the film, two crack heads whose acting is so poor they might actually be on crack. Thankfully these mind numbingly awful characters don’t stick around long, which was a great relief to my ever worsening migraine.

Eventually Jack and Mike arrive at the house which appears to be in the middle of the woods, even though they are deep in the inner city. Jack knocks on the door of the house which is opened a topless woman who just smiles vacantly and walks off into the magic inner-city forest. Is this event, ever, in any way, shape or form explained to us? No, of cause it isn’t. Jack and Mike walk into the house, and proceed to buy crack from a guy that looks as though he is held together my tattoos. They then use the crack they just bought, while still in the house. But things suddenly go bad when Mike overdoses after injecting, and the dealer orders them out. Jack drags the unconscious Mike out of the house, past the dumb-ass crack heads, and to his car. Or at least where his car was, yes that’s right, old Jack has had his ride stolen. He drops the now foaming at the mouth Mike on the ground, and calls for an ambulance, but pretty much just gives up half way through, and pisses off to leave Mike to die. And Mike does indeed die, but he was an asshole, so who the hell cares? Certainly not the audience.

This event was the beginning of the end for Jack, he finds himself badly addicted to injecting crack, and as the film cuts back to the present we can clearly see he has lost everything. The cocktail of narcotics that was given to him earlier has started to have some strange effects on old junkie Jack. He becomes paranoid, and I mean very paranoid. He has also started to have some freaky hallucinations, including a very interesting stop-motion sequence in which Jack sees Mike’s rotting body in a glass coffin full of used syringes. This very short scene is possibly the highlight of the film, it was very creative, and very nicely done. But as the film draws to its conclusion, it becomes a very predictable slasher which just leaves you with the feeling that everybody just ran out of creative ideas, and just resorted to boring basics.

Throughout the majority of the film I was pretty entertained, and there was some real creative originality at play in some of the scenes, and one or two genuinely creepy moments. But this film suffered badly from very poor acting and abysmal dialogue, combine that with a few very cheap looking practical effects and at times it drags. The film didn’t have as much gore as I would have liked for a film of this kind, but the jackhammer colonoscopy made up for that. Throughout the film I was reminded of films like Combat Shock, Bug, and once or twice of Requiem for a Dream and that’s always a good thing in my mind. So I am going to give this one 5/10, even with its many problems I still found it enjoyable, and well worth a watch.

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