What Jack Built is an 11 minute short full of tension and suspense following the journey of Jack as he attempts to capture whatever it is that is lurking in the woods. This is a fair short that’s only let down by a few budgetary issues.
What is lurking out in the forest? That is a question almost every child will ask at some point in their lives. Jack, the protagonist in this short takes that question one step further and, what looks like his obsession, attempts to capture whatever it is that’s marking the forest as its territory.
This eleven minute short was written by father/son duo Ross and Matthew Mahler. The 17 year old Matthew Mahler lets the tension slowly build throughout the film, which is no easy feet, with only one or two hiccups that seem to lose the suspense. Overall though the director takes us to the end of the film and leaves us still wanting to know what was roaming around in the forest. The way that it ends does not necessarily answer that question but it does give us the impression that it is nothing pleasant.
The musical score throughout the film was created by Matthew Mahler and seems to have a good feel for a scene. In most parts the music fits very well even if it is at times slightly exaggerated or over the top, and I honestly felt it sat nicely within the actions of the actor and was a nice replacement for the lack of dialogue.
The biggest let down for me was the actual device and the props used in the short. The chaotic and cluttered environment that Jack is working in feels almost post apocalyptic at times with massive amounts of junk lying around. Whether it was intended to be set in the future or not remains to be seen. I thought the camcorder being used which featured a ‘1985’ date on the screen was a nice touch. However, the ‘mouse trap’ that was being created did not look very believable and also when switching it on the operating mechanism clearly had no power going to it as all the lights were switched off on the console. I think this may be where the budget will have come into play but does take something away from the film.
Timothy J. Cox who plays Jack does a fantastic job of doing everything within his power to take the audience on this mission with him without speaking a word. His visual expressions and mannerisms mean we don’t need to hear him. His almost obsessive compulsive behavior demonstrates his determination and importance of what he is doing. His chain smoking gives the impression of his precarious position and nervousness about the success of his project. All in all this was a fine performance.
This is a decent watch if you have a spare ten minutes to spare that takes you on a journey and spits you out at the end of it. You don’t get any answers, but lets be honest you don’t need any, this movie is all about the experience.
Watch the movie yourself here