A new week, a new part of Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab 2015!
I am to blame for this week’s travesty. See what Christa thought over here!
The Monkey’s Paw
Where to Watch:
The short story of the same name, aka the story that inspired that episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, gets the bad movie treatment.
The Uncondensed Version:
Young boy, parents fighting, wanders downstairs and finds his father lying on the floor. His dying father, clutching the monkey’s paw, warns (in a really bad Southern accent) “Don’t play with fate, boy.” Are you scared yet??? No? Yeah, don’t hold your breath.
Cut to the present day, where we follow Jake, employee at some kind of industrial factory/warehouse in N’Awlins. He works with a couple of all right dudes, Cobb and Catfish (Corbin Bleu again???), and a couple of dicks, Gillespie and the big boss man (Kevin, but who even cares).
Shortly after a disagreement with Jake, Gillespie loses his job, setting up all of the nonsense about to unfold. Jake and all of his coworkers like to hang out at the same bar, the Gator’s Den. Foreshadowing??? Foreshadowing.
Jake vents to Cobb that he wants more than this provincial life: his mom has cancer, his brother always needs to borrow money, his ex-girlfriend is married to the asshole boss, and he has to walk everywhere since he has no money for a car. Cobb then reveals his ex has a restraining order so he can’t see his own son. Everyone has a sad story. We get it.
Gillespie has taken his drinking outside, where Jake and Cobb join him. Jake apologizes for Gillespie losing his job, even though I’m not 100% on how/why that was his fault at all. In a gesture of friendship, Gillespie presents Jake with a monkey’s paw and tells him to make three wishes before he can pass it on to someone else. As it turns out, the kid from the beginning was Gillespie. All of the alarms should be going off in your head, Jake.
Jake is pretty nonplussed; I guess this kind of thing happens all of the time in Louisiana. He tests out the paw by wishing for the GT parked outside of the bar, which is a predictable if stupid wish. Cobb and Jake find the car unlocked with keys in the ignition, and take it as a sign the car is now Jake’s. When they end up at asshole boss’s house, it becomes clear that Jake is not over his ex, Olivia. Since they are both exceptionally bland, uninteresting characters, they probably deserve each other.
The joy ride is cut abruptly short when Jake swerves off the road to avoid hitting an alligator (things that are passably normal in Louisiana but strange everywhere else, cont’d). Cobb doesn’t make it, so Jake uses the monkey’s paw to wish that he isn’t dead. Then Jake takes off through the woods for reasons I don’t totally get? To be honest, I wasn’t giving the film my undivided attention at this point. Jake ditches the monkey’s paw near this strange graffiti and continues on his merry way.
Here begins the Great Undead Cobb Killing Spree. Blonde lady from the bar stops to help Cobb: dead. Jake’s mom: dead. Asshole boss: dead.
When he’s not killing people, Cobb enjoys hanging around cemeteries. I suppose the undead are an underserved population and don’t have a ton of other options.
Basically, the moral of the story is that he won’t stop killing until Jake gives him the third wish on the monkey’s paw. Complication: monkey’s paw is at an undisclosed location in the woods being chewed on by rats. Further complication: Jake is under suspicion for the murder of his boss.
Somehow he and Olivia have time for a date, by which I mean they talk while holding to-go coffee cups and have this voodoo lady read their cards. I feel we really need to raise the bar if coffee and voodoo counts as a date.
At this point, Gillespie finally reveals that he gave Jake the monkey’s paw with malicious intent (duh). Also that he was the kid at the beginning of the movie. When his dad wished he could pay off the mortgage. This, of course, yielded the death of his military brother, whose life insurance policy covered the exact amount needed to pay off the mortgage. Shortly after this revelation, Gillespie dies violently. Also Jake’s brother and sister-in-law.
Okay, I’m kind of done now.
Basically, there’s a big dramatic showdown at the home of Cobb’s ex.
I’ll spare you because the end is stupid, you guys. Stupid.
I hated this one. The characters are bland, the acting is bad, and an interesting premise is reduced to an incredibly repetitive story about stabbings.
I wanted the unintended consequences to be crazier, like stealing the car leads to Jake and Cobb embroiled in a drug smuggling operation, or wishing for a sunny day results in the entire planet crashing into the sun. And would it kill anyone to have a more interesting wish? I would wish for cats and a teleporter. Also that I could go back in time and NOT watch this movie.
You should probably just save yourself the trouble and watch that Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode again.
Honestly, these are more apathetic than angry PPHs, but I’m being consistent with my rating scale.