Jacob’s Hammer is a problematic 2012 British horror film from writer, producer, editor, and director Angie Bojtler that tries too hard to be a jack of all trades but comes off as a master of none. The story follows Sadie (Helen Holman), a young mother who has only one true friend, her son Jacob (first-timer Luis James Farouk). Something is wrong with Jacob. Sadie knows this. Sadie tries to protect Jacob by secluding him. Now Sadie is beginning to hear noises and see things again. The visions are getting worse and as the bodies pile up, she must ask herself a very important question: What is a mother to do? Alright, folks, strap yourselves in and I’ll try to explain this movie as best I can.
Be it the dream-within-a-dream sequences (ugh) or the ghosts, possessed toys, or creepy dolls, this sure is one hard piece of celluloid to peg down into any sort of specific subgenre. Demonic possession? Well, there is a priest (George McCluskey), a few theological questions, and a creepy little kid that sometimes speaks in tongues. Haunted house? What with all the ghostly corpses, visions of loved ones all bloodied, and spectral mirror writing, absolutely! Whodunnit thriller? Very well. You are definitely left wondering what the hell is going on, even if like me you figured out the entire conclusion within the first 10 minutes.
The film starts with two friends walking in the woods. They are Chloe (Elena Stephenson) and well, we’ll call her girl A, since she’s never given a name. Girl A is trying to convince Chloe to ditch out on her babysitting gig and go out and party with her and some of the fellas while Chloe is trying to convince her to go with her to babysit. At least, that’s what I think was being said. The accents are incredibly thick and it sounds like someone had a fan directly blowing into the microphones. This is a problem that occurs quite regularly throughout. Regardless, Chloe walks away from her friend and begins a text conversation with Boy A, also never given a name, who appears to be waiting for her in a park somewhere. Chloe, on her way, walks deeper into the woods with no explanation. She begins to hear strange noises and suddenly marbles are flung at her from some unseen force. Quick chop-cut to Boy A who is also assaulted with marbles from an unseen assailant! Quick cut back to Chloe! An RC car begins to follow her. Quick cut to Boy A! He appears to find the source of the shenanigans in the bushes and apparently knows the perpetrator, then we see a freeze frame shot of a hammer and hear loud crunching noises. Chloe happens into the park and looks for boy A, who she doesn’t find even though he stumbles out of the bushes bloodied and disoriented in the very same 10×10 park. Freeze frame on hammer, cue screams, and fade to black.
That’s basically the gist of Jacob’s Hammer, which is filled with horrible, and I mean horrible quick cut editing, no real kill shots, dialog that is hard to hear and understand, characters who get no introduction, and dime store makeup effects. Now, on the plus side, some of the acting is quite competent, especially from Diane Rimmer, who plays Sadie’s mother Joan, and Thom Heath, who plays Micky, Sadie’s coworker, protege, friend, and perhaps lover? I leave that as a question because like many of the other characters in the film, Micky is never really explained and neither is his and Sadie’s profession. I was led to believe that they were artists of some sort, which leads me to my personal laugh-out loud moment of the film. The exterior of the “studio” is no bigger than a decent-sized wooden tool shed you might find in the backyard of any home in modern suburbia; the interior however, is as big as my high school shop class, complete with concrete walls and power units that line them. Many of the scenes in this movie were clearly filmed in different locations and at different times of the day.
I understand that this is a micro-to-no budget first-attempt film and that the chances of such an offering being anything of value are slim. However, I can’t help but wonder what the outcome may have been if Angie Bojtler hadn’t worn so many different hats and instead focused solely on directing or writing. All of the many subgenres that comprise the film are tired, predictable, and truly not done very well, but were the focus shifted solely to one of these, I feel we would have at least gotten a coherent plot. What we are left with is what feels like a student film with no real ending of which to speak.
I’m not going to get into the ending because to do so would give away any of the “secrets” this gem may hold; however, if it takes any viewer to the end to figure out what the twist is, I suggest they get a horse and go live in the mountains somewhere and stop bothering people. No, no, no, I jest, but seriously, it’s so obvious it’s painful.
So there it is, folks: Jacob’s Hammer. I can’t recommend this one to anyone unless you are a fan of hard-to-understand dialogue and nausea-inducing editing. I’m glad I was able to review this and contribute to the fine group that is Gruesome Magazine, and to you all I say, keep chucking the grenades and I’ll gladly jump on ‘em.
Jacob’s Hammer (0.5 / 5)