Jack Goes Home has a treasure trove of talent on deck. Rory Culkin, Britt Robertson, Natasha Lyonne and Lin Shaye round out the cast. Behind the scenes, we have actor-turned director Thomas Dekker (The Sarah Connor Chronicles). Everything seemed to be in place for this film to work, but the final results aren’t exactly appealing. While Jack Goes Home offers some insights into the lingering effects of loss, its inconsistent scripting and character work betrays itself.
Jack Goes Home follows Jack (Culkin), who is forced to return home after his father dies in a car crash. He’s at a crossroads in his life: kid on the way, dead end job and a general dissatisfaction with his life. When he finally comes home to his mother (Lin Shaye), secrets from his past begin to come back to haunt him. Describing the plot any further than this would begin to unravel the narrative twists, which is pretty much the main draw for this movie in the first place.
Part family drama, part mystery, part horror, Jack Goes Home can’t ever seem to decide what kind of movie it’s trying to be. At times, this plays to the film’s benefit, as the twists and turns are somewhat unpredictable. However, the tone can’t cover up the lack of substance on the part of some of the characters. Motivations fly out the window early on and things start happening for no apparent reason other than that the script dictates they do. The saving grace is Rory Culkin and Lin Shaye’s performances, which are both crackerjack and fun to watch. Culkin is tasked with carrying most of the film on his shoulders and he does so confidently.
Jack Goes Home does offer enough creepy moments and gleeful absurdity to make it an entertaining watch, but it ultimately leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. At the end of the day, it lacks the consistency needed for this kind of story. There are a few good movies stuck inside here, but none of them stand out strongly enough to win you over.