Despite the terrible DVD cover for ‘Mr. Jones‘, I watched the trailer and found it intriguing. Scott and Penny (Jon Foster, Sarah Jones) decide to leave everything behind and retreat into the woods for a year, allowing Scott to shoot a memorable nature documentary. The cabin-in-the-woods meets found footage cliché puts the film at a disadvantage before the film even starts, but the set-up is an interesting one. I give credit where credit is due; the concept is light years ahead of most films in the genre.
After several days of shooting, the young couple discover they’re not alone in the country. A figure clad in a hooded robe steals Scott’s backpack, leading him and Penny to a dilapidated cabin deep in the woods. Several bizarre scarecrows populate the land around and inside the cabin. Penny instantly recognizes the figures as scarecrows created by a mysterious artist simply called “Mr. Jones“. The elusive artist mailed select pieces of his art to seemingly random people, some in the art industry, others were random people from all walks of life. Jones’ infamous scarecrows still cause such deep interest and curiosity, that one art dealer tells Scott a new Mr. Jones work could fetch seven figures. Compared to Banksy at one point, Jones remained a complete mystery, never letting anyone in on his identity or motives. Now, all these later. Scott and Penny realize the scale of their discovery. At least they thing they do.
The first 45 minutes of ‘Mr. Jones‘ had me excited. I forgave the clichés and gave the film my undivided attention. I love a mythos that delves into the occult, evening courting a Lovecraftian vibe at times, and ‘Mr. Jones‘ felt too good to be true.
Late in the second act, the film’s natural beauty and tension began to fade, leaving me with 30 minutes of strobe lights, flickering static, and ridiculously convoluted plot points; all while embracing more horror tropes than seemed possible in such a short time. Director/writer, Karl Mueller, does a frustrating 180 in the second act, and it’s such a waste. Scott travels back to NYC early in the film and interviews several historians and “experts” on Mr. Jones’ works. He learns some heady things in the process.warned to run away from his discovery. Being a horror film, Scott and Penny dive headfirst into the mystery and the results are awful.
Some viewers might find themselves confused, and it’s a natural feeling. The end of the film might seem vague, but enough details were presented to make an informed opinion on the outcome. If any film proved the importance of balance in filmmaking, it’s ‘Mr. Jones‘. The only people I feel recommending this film to are masochistic film lovers.