Not the best adaptation I’ve seen

by Ed Blackadder

The short story, ‘The Monkey’s Paw,’ published in 1902, was penned by W.W. Jacobs. It told of a talisman that granted three wishes to the bearer of said object. The problem was, even though the wishes were granted, the cost was too great, and caused much suffering to everyone around the wisher.

In this tale, the basics are the same, and includes a lot of the same type of hassle. Two co-workers, Cobb (Stephen Lang) and Jake (C.J. Thomason), are drowning their sorrows, when someone produces a monkey’s paw. He tells them that it grants three wishes, so Jake puts his hand on the object, and wishes for the hot car he’s seen parked out front. Jake is told that the paw now belongs to him.

The Monkey’s Paw
Directed by
Brett Simmons
C.J. Thomason, Stephen Lang, Michelle Pierce
Release Date
8 October 2013
Ed’s Grade: C

That’s all fine and dandy, but we later learn that Jake has a mother in hospital, at deaths door because of cancer. As soon as I discovered that, I was annoyed at the writer, because, even though we’re meant to believe that Jake has a selfish streak (and is a part-time stalker), I refuse to believe his first wish would be for a car. Anywho, after he and Cobb get in the car, they crash into a tree; Cobb dies; is wished back to life, and starts to kill. It’s then about Cobb killing everyone around Jake, but he also wants the paw for his own reason.

I like Stephen Lang, and loved him in Last Exit to Brooklyn, and more recently in Avatar, but I couldn’t get into his character in this lukewarm horror. He can play the crazy guy just fine, but it didn’t work for me here. I’ve never seen C.J. Thomason in anything before, but his performance was fine. It’s the writing and direction I wasn’t crazy about, but, it told the tale passably. Perhaps I was hoping for more, and when I heard about this version of, The Monkey’s Paw, I was looking forward to seeing it, because, the short story this effort was based on, is one I have fond memories of from my misspent childhood.

I also like Charles S. Dutton, but he was underutilised, and anyone could have played the role of the detective. While The Monkey’s Paw is certainly watchable, it really isn’t much more than that. I was hoping for, “much more muchier,” than what was offered. If you want very basic horror, then this should fulfill that need, but little else.