The Jester (2023)

One evening, a man named John (Matt Servitto) walks around alone in a small community. While walking, it’s evident that something, or perhaps someone, is following him from a distance. John also appears to have strange and unexplainable visions of a little girl. The visions only encourage him to reflect on an old photo of himself and his daughter. Shortly after, he pulls out his mobile phone to contact his daughter. While John successfully reaches his daughter Emma, the mysterious figure gets closer and closer without John’s knowledge. Making matters worse, John’s phone call with his daughter doesn’t end well as John is seeking forgiveness, and his daughter Emma is uninterested. As Emma hangs up on John, the mysterious figure reveals himself. The figure is dressed as a Jester wearing a facemask, a top hat, and an orange outfit. John seems too aware of The Jester’s presence and claims he tried his best but was unsuccessful. With John’s effort to reconnect with his daughter being unsuccessful, The Jester takes matters into his own hands, which results in John’s death, and afterwards, The Jester walks away.

However, The Jester’s torment among the community and its people is far from over. During John’s funeral, we are introduced to Jocelyn (Delaney White) and Emma (Lelia Symington), John’s daughters. It’s evident that the two sisters are distant from one another due to secrets from their past, and Jocelyn is surprised that Emma even showed up. After the funeral, strange events occur, with Emma witnessing The Jester standing near John’s coffin from afar before disappearing. Emma is invited to meet Jocelyn at a local bar on Halloween evening. At the bar, the pair continue to share disagreements and disappointments from their past before going their separate ways. However, The Jester is lurking in the shadows among the streets and stalking Jocelyn and Emma separately. Anyone who gets in his way is a potential victim.

The Jester is a horror film based on a series of short films directed by Colin Krawchuk, which had the same concept: an evil Jester figure terrorising people. This is Colin’s official feature film debut, and he also serves as the film’s writer. Within the opening scene alone, there’s evidence that he enjoys and loves this character.

The general look of The Jester is excellent, and the costumes, along with the style of the face mask, look impressive. Given that the mask doesn’t allow any form of facial expressions, most of the communication comes from the body, which, again, I felt Michael Sheffield, who plays The Jester, did excellently through movement and communicating with hand gestures. However, one fault with the character’s costumes (a minor imperfection and nit-pick) was that I could see hair outside on the back of the mask, which instantly removes the illusion that viewers are watching some form of entity or malignant being. The filming and locations used were good, as were the set designs and backgrounds.

Pacing-wise, I found the film started strong as it introduced The Jester and his capabilities, and the film delivered an intriguing yet complex showdown in its third act. However, the second act is hugely slow, with The Jester dragging out his interactions and games with others before commencing any kills. It’s not enough to just kill someone; instead, victims are tormented by the odd, playful game first, such as finding a hidden ball among three cups. The second act includes borderline cringe-worthy dialogue, such as when Jocelyn interacts with her close friends. The music and film score feel B-grade and almost best suited for a midday TV movie.

Overall, I completely understand if you receive Terrifier vibes just by looking at the film’s poster alone. While the film consists of a Jester lurking around the shadows, messing with people, and conducting various kills, to my surprise, it introduced an interesting angle with its story and positive messages.  As a direction debut from Colin Krawchuk, it’s evident there’s plenty of heart to make this character shine as best as possible, and the design and movements of The Jester are also great. Dialogue, sadly, is a weaker aspect, and the film’s second act seems to drag on and lack interest in its storyline before heading towards an exciting yet complex finale.

The Jester (2023) will be available on DVD and digital starting February 7th!

4.3/10

Rating: 2 out of 5.

23rd January 2024
Written by Peter Walkden

WALKDEN ENTERTAINMENT

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Scarygirl (2023)

The Keeper (Anna Torv) is seeking a rare mythical octopus and is currently offering various bandits and bounty hunters a high-paying reward. While the reward is impressive, the only problem is that it's nearly impossible for anyone to find one! After a brief...

When Evil Lurks (2023)

In a small remote village, we follow a pair of brothers, Pedro (Ezequiel Rodríguez) and Jimi (Demián Salomón), who hear strange noises from afar. Working together, the pair investigate, discovering that a demon has heavily infected a man, and it is ready to give...

Hot Potato: The Story of the Wiggles (2023)

I would be utterly speechless if you told me you've never heard of the greatest band in Australia. This band, many would claim, is like The Beatles but made for toddlers. You may have heard of The Wiggles, Anthony (The Blue Wiggle), Murray (The Red Wiggle), Greg (The...

Night of the Hunted (2023)

Alice (Camille Rowe) is travelling a long distance home after attending a work conference. Spending the night at a hotel before another long day of travel, Alice receives a phone call from her partner at 2 a.m. in the morning, confirming that she will make it to her...

A Savage Christmas (2023)

It's Christmas Day, and following tradition, the Savage family is all coming together in a sweet home in Australia. It's no secret that the family has had challenges and past disagreements. Nevertheless, the Savages have decided to come together and celebrate the day...

Monolith (2022)

A mysterious man opens the film with a narrative, telling viewers how he wants to share a secretive story, revealing that there was something different about his family when he was a young child. In this story, he shares critical details of a stalker who claims to be...

The Crime is Mine (2023)

The film opens with an upset and frustrated woman named Madeleine (Nadia Tereszkiewicz), who is leaving a luxury house and walking home. Returning home to her roommate, Pauline (Rebecca Marder), Madeleine reveals that her audition for the upcoming performance was a...

Bring Him to Me (2023)

A skilled getaway driver (Barry Pepper) receives an unexpected phone call from a ruthless crime boss named Veronica (Rachel Griffiths). The getaway driver is told to drive to a bus stop outside a local hardware store and pick up a passenger (Jamie Costa). This...

Mercy Road (2023)

With a story all set on one night, we first meet Tom (Luke Bracey) when he is dashing to his truck and urgently driving off. Tom is panicking and frantically trying to run away as quickly as possible, hoping nobody nearby sees him. While driving, Tom attempts to call...

V/H/S/85 (2023)

Welcome back to the most remarkable period ever (well, in my opinion): the '80s. V/H/S/85 serves as the sixth instalment in the popular V/H/S series, where viewers are introduced to various segments (or short films), all played directly from a mysterious videotape....

Interview: Nathan Phillips / Wolf Creek (2005)

Walkden Entertainment (aka Peter Walkden) had the honour and pleasure of chatting with Nathan Phillips, lead actor of Wolf Creek (2005), which is Now Available on Blu-ray thanks to Via Vision Entertainment. Are you a lover of horror films in general? If so, what are...

Wolf Creek (2005)

After a creepy warning that the film is based on actual events, viewers are informed that thirty thousand people are reported missing in Australia annually. Thankfully, ninety per cent of them are found within a month, but some are never seen again. We are then...

Totally Killer (2023)

Thirty-five years ago, in 1987, three women were brutally murdered in a suburb known as North Vernon. Each victim was stabbed sixteen times. The newspaper named the killer "Sweet 16," and witnesses had spotted the ruthless murderer wearing all black and a mask. In the...

Oink (2022)

As Babs (Hiba Ghafry) tells her best friend while they’re shopping, she wants nothing more for her birthday than a cute puppy dog. After this revelation, Babs and her best friend shop for various ingredients to cook pancakes with the family. They must stop at the...

The Retaliators (2021)

Set in New Jersey, the film begins with the introduction of John Bishop (Michael Lombardi), a respectable pastor within his community. John is a single father of two daughters, Sarah (Katie Kelly) and Rebecca (Abbey Hafer). As pastor and father, John keeps his body in...

The Origin of Evil (2022)

Stéphane (Laure Calamy) is a forty-five-year-old woman living without a husband and never having children. Every day, she works at a fish cannery in Fos-sur-Mer. Given her current age, lifestyle and the challenges she's facing in the present day, including someone...

The Mean One (2022)

It was a beautiful evening on Christmas Eve until a young child named Cindy heard a noise downstairs. Cindy discovered a stranger wearing a Christmas suit, and she wasn't frightened, not one bit, even though the person in the costume was, in fact, some green monster....

Spooky Halloween (2022)

The film opens on October 31st, during a year that occurred a long time ago. We see a man named Alec Windsor (Christopher Lloyd) visiting Sacred Hearts, a home for Wayward Children, delivering a final notice and claiming their land now belongs to him. The previous...

Tom Cruise: The Last Movie Star (2023)

I'd be astonished if you'd never heard of the legendary actor Tom Cruise. In the present day, the name Tom Cruise means everything. For some, he was a heartthrob discovered in the 80s with his boyish charms, or perhaps you consider him one of the most incredible...

Saw X (2023)

John Kramer (Tobin Bell), aka Jigsaw, has been informed that he only has a few months to live due to cancer. Desperate for a miracle and a cure, John hears about a medical treatment that may change his life, healing his body completely. After researching, John decides...

The Creator (2023)

Introducing a future where humans are the highest form of artificial intelligence is at war. Here, we follow Joshua (John David Washington), an ex-special forces soldier with a tragic past. Joshua continues to grieve over the disappearance of his wife, whom he...

The Cost (2022)

It was supposed to be an easy journey coming home after a long day at work for Stephanie (Nicole Pastor); instead, her body was found dead near a city river. From this opening credit scene, we are introduced to three different men. First, we see Dave (Jordan...

Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)

"Bobby Fischer was a man unlike any other. He is known for his quick smarts and fast-paced skills surrounding all things related to chess. It's unknown why, but one day, Bobby Fischer vanished, and no one knew where he went. Did he die, or perhaps he went into hiding?...

Dirty Dancing (1987)

Set during the bright summer of 1963, we follow a seventeen-year-old named Baby (Jennifer Grey). Baby and her family are travelling to a popular resort in the Catskills. We learn instantly that Baby's world is filled with promise and greatness. Family life is also...

Creed III (2023)

After a smashing career in the boxing world, Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) has hung up his gloves and is currently living a retired life. He resides with his wife, Bianca (Tessa Thompson), and his young daughter, Amara (Mila Davis-Kent). Each day, Adonis mentors...

Three Chords and the Truth (2022)

Inspired by Real Events. Angie (Jackie Marshall) once had the opportunity to be an all-time famous musician, but instead, she made hasty choices that interfered with her goals. Angie currently has bone cancer, which she has been fighting for much of her life. To get...

Interview: Jee-woon Kim / Cobweb (2023)

Walkden Entertainment (aka Peter Walkden) had the honour and pleasure of attending the global press conference for Cobweb! We were also delighted to ask the director and writer Jee-woon Kim some questions about his new film, which is available in Australian Cinemas...

Interview: Song Kang-ho / Cobweb (2023)

Walkden Entertainment (aka Peter Walkden) had the honour and pleasure of attending the global press conference for Cobweb! We were also delighted to ask the lead actor Song Kang-ho some questions about his new film, which is available in Australian Cinemas from...

Cobweb (2023)

Set in the 1970s, we follow a well-known film Director named Kim (Song Kang-ho), who is currently working on his new movie Cobweb. After having recurring dreams that are impossible to forget, Kim decides that a reshoot of Cobweb's ending is a must in order to make the...

PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie (2023)

The PAW Patrol are back, but this time, you'll see them like you've never seen them before! The film opens at a junkyard where two workers encounter a mysterious person stealing a highly powerful magnet customarily used to lift and move various scraps. We soon learn...

It Lives Inside (2023)

Teenager Sam (Megan Suri) has a challenging life. At school, she constantly struggles to fit in and make new friends. There are some frustrations in her home life, too. After getting ready for school one day, Sam's mother reminds her that they are to prepare a meal...

Blue Beetle (2023)

At a top-secret, mysterious dig site, we meet Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon), a wealthy CEO of a tech company known as Kord Industries. Victoria is searching for a rare Scarab artefact with alien technology inside it. With this artifact, she will step closer to...

A Haunting in Venice (2023)

After solving many murder mysteries, Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) is now living a life of retirement. Living in a quiet home in Venice, Poirot often finds people lined up at his door, pleading for his help and problem-solving skills. However, he refuses to assist...

Leap (2020)

Opening with the 2008 Beijing Olympics, we follow the match for gold between China and USA. This match alone has over three hundred million viewers watching the game live. But it's not just another game for the coaches Chen (Bo Huang) and Lang Ping, aka the Iron...

Interview: Pierce Berolzheimer / Crabs! (2021)

Walkden Entertainment (aka Peter Walkden) had the honour and pleasure of chatting with Pierce Berolzheimer, director, writer and one of the producers of Crabs! (2021), which is Now Available on Screambox. Are you a lover of all things relating to horror? If so, do you...

97 Minutes (2023)

Oceanic Flight 420 is travelling from Heathrow to JFK over the North Atlantic Ocean. The flight is going smoothly until a mysterious group of men hijack the plane using firearms. Meanwhile, at the National Security Agency, the staff discovered the plane's transponder...

Shin Ultraman (2023)

Set in Japan, an attack occurs when a Kaiju appears unexpectedly. The government and the special task force have successfully fought and defeated many monsters in the past (and believe me, there have been quite a few of them!). But this new Kaiju is different and can...