Another week, another slightly left of field movie review!
This week is Jillian’s choice and… well, read on to see what I thought, you know how it work’s around here, don’cha? All I will say right now, is that this film is based on the creepy short story most of us know, The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs.
*Contains spoilers as always*
The Monkey’s Paw (2013)
Where to Watch:
Jake is given a monkey’s paw that grants three wishes. After the first two wishes leave his friend Cobb undead, Cobb pushes Jake to make a final wish. (Via IMDB).
The Uncondensed Version:
We begin in the room of a small, frightened boy, presumably hiding out from his parents, who can be heard downstairs, violently fighting. When the shouting stops, the poor kid tiptoes downstairs to find his father on the floor, holding a monkey’s paw. He mumbles something along the lines of “Don’t mess with fate, son” and promptly dies.
Cut to modern day and we’re in a factory full of seasoned workers. Jake is the stand out as he is the only vaguely attractive young man. His boss is giving him jip for something, something to do with trucks? I must admit here that I had a bit of an issue with the ‘Nawlins accent, all I longed for was proper pronunciation. Fast forward a bit and Jake’s boss has been fired by his boss, Kevin who is married to Jake’s ex-girlfriend, who Jake clearly still has the hots for.
Jake’s old boss, Gillespie is in the pub later on that night, drowning his sorrows. Jake and his mate, Cobb approach him and have a chat about him being sacked. Gillespie has a shrivelled monkey’s paw on the table next to him (as you do). Naturally the men ask him about it and he tells them about the three wishes. A bit drunk, Jake makes a wish and is told that the paw is his until he makes his last wish. Gillespie sort of tries to warn the men about the paw’s hold on people but not really, calling it a ‘peace treaty’, as Jake was somehow involved in his sacking. He says there are no hard feelings. (We’ll be the judge of that, sir, once this story is through).
Jake’s first wish is for the sweet Mustang he’s just spotted in the car park of the pub; lo and behold, when he and Cobb approach it later, it’s unlocked and the keys are in the ignition. So the boys go for a spin, stopping off at Kevin’s house, where he lives with Lydia, Jake’s ex. They intend to confront Kevin about sacking Gillespie but he’s not home. Lydia and Jake have words and it’s clear that they’re still into one another by how mean they are.
On the way home, Jake crashes the Mustang and Cobb is thrown through the windshield and killed. Jake wishes he wasn’t dead with his second wish and then runs off. Cobb is rescued by a local barmaid who takes him home with her, in the biblical sense and also in a kind way. She patches him up and offers him some sex for which he thanks her with a fatal strangling. Something tells us New Cobb isn’t the weathered old dog with a good heart he used to be (Jill, I sort of fancied him for a split second, a step too far?).
Jake, in the meantime, has found an abandoned warehouse and throws the paw away. Yeah, that’ll do it. He goes to the cop shop the next morning, presumably to own up to everything but chickens out. Later, Cobb goes to see his kid who he has with a nice lady who has a restraining order against him. He says he just wants to take his boy fishing.
Jake finally catches up to Cobb, in a graveyard, of course. Cobb mumbles something about wanting the paw and thus, the final wish for himself. He tells Jake he can’t waste the third wish. Mumble mumble mumble.
Kevin, the new dick boss at the factory is f**king another woman besides his wife, Lydia and is in his office with her when he hears something. It turns out to be Cobb, who puts his head in a vice. It seems for a moment that Cobb is just another vigilante, clearing up the streets of rubbish but I don’t stick by this statement.
Basically, Cobb works his way indiscriminately through everyone we’ve met so far, including Jake’s mother who is in hospital, dying of cancer. Can I just state here that I’m confused that Jake’s first wish wasn’t to cure his mother of cancer? I mean, duh.
Anyway, Cobb kills her by suffocating her and by this point I was still thinking maybe he was just being kind, wanting to put her out of her misery but actually, he’s just being murderous for shits n’ gigs. Well, I guess the guy no longer has a soul but still.
Cobb calls Jake and tells him to come to the graveyard to talk. Cobb tells him he killed Jake’s mum for Jake but Jake doesn’t buy it – and rightly so! They fight.
A detective (who’s played by an actor who always plays a detective) is investigating Kevin’s death. He asks his team to bring Cobb in but also look out for Jake. In his heart, the detective knows it’s not Jake but recognises him from outside the police station a few morning ago when he got too scared to come in, so knows he’s involved in something.
Jake also warns his brother to get out of town which he and his wife agree to do. Jake visits Gillespie and they talk about the paw, Gillespie telling him his parent’s tale. He was the little boy in the beginning, see. (I’ll let you find out that story for yourself). Later on, Gillespie is murdered – who knew? – which is sad because he’s a nice man but he did willingly start this whole cycle off so, karma and all.
Jake’s brother and sister-in-law head out of town but are followed and chased down by – can you guess? – who murders them both while Jake is connected to them by phone. He hears them being brutally murdered, then Cobb comes on the line and tells Jake to meet him at Abby’s house (Cobb’s ex, with the kid).
Jake finally accepts that enough is enough, and goes back for the paw. Meanwhile, Cobb kills the detective and captures Lydia in her knitting shop, throwing her into a bin and driving her to Abby’s house.
There’s a final showdown, as with most films. All Cobb wants is the final wish. Jake tries to reason with Cobb, telling Cobb that he has always been right, that Jake was never content with his lot in life. He tells Cobb that the paw ruins things and then he utters his final request: “I wish my friend, Tony Cobb, had his soul back!”.
Cobb hates this and goes mental, stabbing Lydia and then beating the shit out of Jake. Jake fights back and then, as Cobb goes after his son, he gets a sudden attack of conscience…
The film ends but first we find out what happened to the paw. Let’s just say there’s a lesson to be learned here if your life has been ruined by an supernatural object. Chuck it the fuck away when you’re done – just sayin’.
I thought this would be more hammer horror-y so it was a nice surprise to have the story brought up to date and set in a modern location. I haven’t seen any of the other film versions of this short story but I was expecting it to be set in the early 1900s. (Look I didn’t research this movie before I watched it, I wanted to go in fresh).
For a film with a low budget, unknown stars and a loose premise, it was quite entertaining. It also had some genuine jumpy moments. There were a lot of murders too, which is exactly what I want from films of this calibre. All in all, I was entertained and happy with what I got.
I won’t mention any stand out performances because they were all okay but there were a few one liners that actually made me howl. Sample: When Cobb appears at the factory late at night (to kill Kevin) and Kevin confronts him about it with the question: “What are you doing here?”, Cobb replies: “Overtime” and bops him on the head. Loolllllllllllll.
3 See No Evil monkeys (with all their limbs attached) out of 5
Pop over to Jillian’s to see what she thought.
All images via Google.