The tale of “The Monkey’s Paw” has become so engrained in our culture that it is hard to believe the W.W. Jacobs’ short story was only first published in 1902. With over 100 years in circulation, the story has seen more than it’s fair share of incarnations in just about ever medium; be it radio, film or television. No matter the format, at the core of the story lies a talisman which grants three wishes, only to later reveal dire consequences. Director Brett Simmons (Husk) took a chance on breathing life into this classic tale with a script by Macon Blair; a gamble that paid off!
This version of the classic story is set in modern day New Orleans and focuses in on Jake, played by C.J. Thomason. Jake is a regular joe working a factory gig alongside his friend Cobb (Stephen Lang). For these fellas, it is just another day of wishing, hoping and praying that a brighter day is just right around the corner. At a local watering hole, the duo soon find themselves trying to console a recently canned co-worker who they find brooding over whiskey and the paw of a dead monkey. The clearly distraught man explains how the mystical paw is able to grants three wishes. Of course, that sounds like a sweet deal but this guy doesn’t seem to be overly thrilled about his current lot in life. Doubting the power of the paw, Jake jokingly picks it up and wishes he owned the new sports car in bar’s lot; oblivious his wish would lead him down a dark path. As Jake and Cobb leave the bar later in the evening, they discover a car in the lot with the cars inside and decide to take it for a spin. Inevitably, the are involved in a car crash that claims the life of Cobb. Jake uses his second wish to bring his recently deceased friend back from the great beyond. This is where the film truly sets itself apparent from previous adaptations as Cobb settles the score with those who have wronged him in the past. It is a turn that shifts the film tonal and lets Stephen Lang shine in the role. Without treading into spoiler territory, Jake’s third wish is a heart-wrenching twist that most viewers won’t see coming.
This dark version of “The Monkey’s Paw” is a solid flick with a nightmarish feel and great tone overall. As a fan of the horror genre, Brett Simmons is certain a director I will continue to keep an eye on in the years to come. The film is a nice twist on an old classic and definitely worth a look for fans of the genre.
In addition to the solid performances by C.J. Thomason and Stephen Lang, the cast also features Corbin Bleu (High School Musical, Nurse 3D), Charles S. Dutton (Legion), Michelle Pierce (NCIS) and Daniel Hugh Kelley (Cujo).
Blu-Ray Special Features:
• Audio Commentary With Director Brett Simmons, Cinematographer Scott Winig and Actor C.J. Thompson
• A Look Behind The Scenes
• Theatrical Trailer
‘The Monkey’s Paw’ hits Blu-ray on June 17, 2014. Buy the film directly from Scream Factory – Click Here!