Review: MR. JONES

Mr Jones Theatrical Poster

It’s refreshing to expect one thing from a film and to walk out of it, having sat through something completely different than what you initially thought it would be. While the genre has had more than its share of bad found footage/POV-style films, every once in a while one comes that dares to do something different, not letting itself be held back by specific approaches done to death, and giving viewers a genuinely fun time. Karl Mueller (writer of THE DIVIDE)’s directorial debut, MR. JONES, is just that: a breath of fresh air, hooking you into the film with familiar approaches, just to pull the rug out from under you.

Revolving around a young married couple who move to the woods to live while the husband makes a documentary, MR. JONES quickly lets its viewers know that it’s not their typical POV-like film, showcasing some pretty impressive cinematography, something that is typically void in these kinds of films. The husband, Scott, does his best to be inspired to film his documentary, but soon goes through a bout with a lack of creativity, injecting some tension into the relationship between himself and Penny, his wife. When Scott is in the middle of filming, a figure appears behind him, stealing his bag and taking off. When the young couple go searching for the man, they come across a cabin, and soon go into it, and down into the underground basement. Full of stick-figure sculptures, the duo are enthralled by everything in the basement, and when the man arrives back at the cabin, the couple quickly leaves. Penny soon shows Scott a book full of photos surrounding a mysterious artist called “Mr. Jones”, a man never seen. Insisting that they’ve found the real Mr. Jones, Penny talks Scott into flying to New York to interview different people regarding the Mr. Jones mystery while she stays behind to take photos of the makeshift scultptures.

What follows is a combination of interviews between Scott and various people, and when he returns, a second half that very quickly gets under your skin and doesn’t let up. Just when you begin to ask yourselves questions regarding certain elements (the couple being videotaped, music, etc), the film heads very unexpected, yet completely welcomed places, a testament to Mueller’s writing/directing. It’s a complete switch of tone, and something that viewers will definitely not expect, putting the young duo in what could only be described as a nightmare world, full of darkness and some of the most stylistically engrossing film-making in a while. Knowing as little as possible is the best way to go into the film, so I will refrain from anymore plot points, but the aesthetic of MR. JONES lies somewhere between a Terrance Malick-like opening, focusing on flowers, and the setup of moods, before deciding to venture into something similar to that of a cross between INSIDIOUS and RESOLUTION with a small hint of KILL LIST, all mixed together, in the best of ways.

A tense ride, full of scares and some impressive moments to say the least, MR. JONES is exactly what a lot of films employing the POV-angle aren’t: a completely original take, a stylized film full of shocks/scares and one hell of an ending that you’ll never see coming…and all while being wrapped in a neat PG-13 bow.

 

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