Obviously intended as the kickoff for a horror-comedy franchise, “Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer” mixes elements from “Men in Black,” “Super Mario Bros.” and a dozen other pics to fashion a campy scenario about a blue-collar rage-aholic who battles bogeymen. Indie effort evidences more energy than wit, and spends too much time on set-up before a slam-bang pay-off. But genre fans, fanzines and fansites may respond favorably, and pic could generate enough DVD sales to prompt production of additional episodes.
Trevor Matthews essays the title character, a moody young plumber given to fits of uncontrollable anger. And with good reason: During a camping trip many years earlier, he was traumatized when his family was devoured by a bloodthirsty mutant. Jack tries hard to be normal, and even takes night-school science classes with his beautiful girlfriend (Rachel Skarsten). But when their professor (yet another self-spoofy turn by Robert Englund) is transformed into a multi-tentacled monster, Jack at long last finds a useful way to channel his violent temper. Slimy f/x are reasonably effective, and helmer Jon Knautz makes clever use of Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea” to trigger memories and underscore mayhem.