• Mr. Jones



    Mr. Jones
    Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
    Released on: May 6th, 2014.
    Director: Karl Mueller
    Cast: Jon Foster, Sarah Jones, David Clennon, Diane Neal
    Year: 2014
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    The Movie:

    Directed by Karl Muller, Mr. Jones is a ‘fond footage’ style horror picture with a PG-13 rating that went straight to video. Normally this would spell S-U-C-K loud and clear to anyone who has graduated into adulthood and for the first half an hour or so, admittedly, it was a fight not to hit the stop button on the remote. If you’ve got the patience to get through a pretty rough opening half hour, however, this one does manage to shift gears and deliver what is ultimately no classic, but at least a moderately entertaining story.

    The story follows a couple named Scott (Jon Foster) and Penny (Sarah Jones) who have just left behind their big city home to head out into the sticks for two reasons: to boost the romance factor that has been lacking in their relationship as of late, and to work on a documentary movie. Things start off okay, but for the next half hour they basically just bicker a lot. They can’t quite get a handle on how they want to make their movie and this is having an understandable effect on the spark they’re trying to light. All of this is fairly dull and uninteresting to watch, though credit to both Foster and Jones for crafting believable characters.

    Things take a turn for the better (at least as far as the entertainment factor goes) when they find a rundown old house that they ascertain to belong to the titular Mr. Jones, a famous though very reclusive sculpture artist famous for making creepy metal scarecrow things whose work would be the talk of the town if Scott and Penny were actually in a town and not out in the middle of nowhere. Jones has been missing in action for decades and finding him would seem to be a boon – here’s the catch they need to make something of their movie! Scott sets about trying to make the movie and sends Penny back to the city where she tries to interview those who purchased his work way back when… only to learn that there’s more to what Jones did than the simple bending of steal… something far more evil and, eventually, moderately eerie.

    Once we actually get to the character of Mr. Jones, things pick up considerably here and while Mueller’s picture falls prey to the same trappings that plague a lot of other found footage movies (WHY ARE YOU CARRYING AROUND A CAMERA RIGHT NOW YOU IDIOT????) the format does prove effective in the later part of the picture. We get to know Scott and Penny well enough that, even if we don’t love them, they seem real enough so that when the bad things inevitably start to happen to them we care about the results. This makes the big finish, when they head towards that old house, all the more effective. Here Mueller is smart enough to let the interesting location speak for itself while excellent use of sound helps to heighten the tension considerably. It takes too long to get to this point, mind you, but at least there’s some decent pay off once we do. Had there been better editing, more attention paid to when and how the ‘found footage’ angle was used to improve plausibility and tighter story flow, this would have turned out better than it did, but as it stands once you suffer through the first part it’s worth checking out.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Mr. Jones arrives on Blu-ray framed at 1.78.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. Given that this is a ‘found footage' movie you have to understand that to a certain extent the movie has intentionally been made to look like it has all been captured with consumer grade video on the fly. On that level, the transfer is fine. If you don't mind the shaky-cam thing, this is a pretty strong image. Detail is good when the camera isn't moving too quickly and colors are reproduced quite nicely. Black levels are good and there are no issues with any obvious compression artifacts or edge enhancement to note.

    The only audio option on the disc is a strong English language Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track there are subtitles provided in English SDH and Spanish. To be brief, the tack on this disc is a good one. There's a good amount of surround activity throughout the movie and some of the more intense scenes really benefit from this. Dialogue stays clear throughout all of this and the mix is properly balanced, though again there are a few scenes where the audio is intentionally a bit scratchy, in keeping with the found footage aspect of the production. Bass response is pretty solid here too. This gets the job done nicely.

    Outside of menus and chapter selection there are no extras features on this disc.

    The Final Word:

    Mr. Jones takes its sweet-ass time to get going and even then, once it does pick up, it leaves minds decidedly unblown. It does, however, manage to conjure up a bit of atmosphere and successfully execute a few decent ideas. Nobody is reinventing the horror movie wheel here and the found footage angle will put plenty of people burnt out on that gimmick completely off, but this was entertaining enough. Anchor Bay’s Blu-ray is devoid of any extras but it looks and sounds decent. Faint praise, sure, but you could do a lot worse than this.
    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!