31 Days of Reviews: The Monkey’s Paw

Most people know what goes on with stories about using a Monkey’s Paw. It’s never a happy ending.

This movie take stye story of the monkey’s paw and gives it life again. The main character, Jake, is working at a dead-end job, his mother is dying from cancer, his love interest is married to a cheating husband, and he doesn’t have anything to hold pride in for himself. He acquires a monkey’s paw, and his first wish is for a car. This leads Jake down a twisted road of events that gives us the rest of the movie.

The cinematography is pretty good. I liked the color correction. The editing was really nice. It was quick and suspenseful when it needed to be, and it was slow and deliberate when that was needed too. The only slight problem I had was transitioning from scene to scene with a quick cut to black and a dramatic sound effect. That was used a lot, maybe a bit too much, but it was never too big of a problem. Other than that I really had no problem with the execution of the movie at all.

In terms of story, there were moments where I felt it was a little long. If I really go into detail, and think about what could have been cut out to make the movie shorter, I can’t seem to think of anything. Even the story lines that seem to be far out there end up tying into something that will screw with Jake’s life.

If you don’t know what the deal is with the monkey’s paw, the lore is that when you receive the paw, you get three wishes. The paw belongs to you until you make all three wishes, and it’s incredibly bad luck. When you make your wish, you get what you ask for, but never how you would have wanted it. The paw takes your wish and spits it out darker, tainted in some way. It’s bad news.

There are two parts of the story that I really want to talk about. One of these is the introduction which leads into the monkey’s paw aspect, and the other is one of the final scenes involving Jake’s brother and sister-in-law.

The introduction of the movie starts out really intense. We have what looks like a child hiding in his room during a bout of domestic violence in his home. He hears screaming and a loud crash, and he leaves his room to find his father dying on the floor. His father hands him the monkey’s paw, saying “Don’t mess with fate, son” We flash forward to present day, introducing us to Jake. As a member of the audience, I thought that this implied that Jake was that child from the introduction. We find out later that this isn’t the case. It’s actually Jake’s boss who was the child at the beginning. We find out more of the story with him as the movie goes on, but Jake’s boss gives Jake the paw for…. reasons.

The second part I wanted to talk about was one of the final scenes with Jake’s brother and sister-in-law, which segways into pretty much the entire ending of the movie in general. The scene with the married couple is actually really terrifying. It’s kind of a turning point, in my opinion at least, in the terror of the movie. Before that point, everything is terrifying in the sense that it’s so suggesting of what this soulless man is capable of. During this scene with the couple, it reaches this turning point where you are actually witnessing it, and the capacity for evil with no remorse. During the last third of the movie, I was completely terrified.

Casting was good. Stephen Lang is so scary. I can barely even type out in words just how great he was in this. Just.. man.

There will be times where the story was frustrating. It’s not frustrating as in the characters are frustrating, but the situation is. I found myself really rooting for people to live only for them to not live. It was upsetting for me.

Overall, The Monkey’s Paw is a pretty decent movie that works as a good way to introduce people to the lore of the monkey’s paw in a modern setting. It’s on Netflix, if you choose to take a peek.

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