Blu-ray Review: The Monkey’s Paw

The story of the monkey’s paw giving wishes is creepy without much additional story. What sort of magic can come from owning a rotting ape’s hand? How much luck can you handle from such a stench? Turns out there’s something special in that ghastly and grizzled talisman. You get your wishes, but somehow they don’t quite come out as cool as you desire. The Monkey’s Paw modernizes the W.W. Jacobs short story to make it even more sinister.

Jake Tilton (C.J. Thomason) isn’t having that great of a life. Sure he’s supposedly moved up at his job. But he gets reminded every time he punches the clock that his boss (Andy Favreau) is now the husband of his baby’s mama (Michelle Pierce). Jake isn’t even that well liked. His only friend on the floor isn’t much of one. Cobb (Avatar‘s Stephen Lang) is a bit of a jerk, but he also hates the boss. What seems like a nice move, an ex-employee gives Tilton a lucky monkey’s paw. It’s good for three wishes before you have to pass it along. Jake doesn’t take it seriously. But when he wishes to own a hot new car in the parking lot, he finds himself behind the wheel. Cobb joins in on the road fun. This is when Jake realizes that wishes on the monkey’s paw might not be that cool in the long run.

There’s a fine claustrophobic feel to the film. Director of Photography Scott Winig and his crew bring an ominous vibe to screen. There’s a great Gordon Willis darkness cast upon the characters with just the right kick of light. This playing with light brings out the best in the actors. The lighting also enhances the Louisiana setting. Although even with the shadowy lighting, it’s hard to see how anyone can think something good can come from a rotting ape’s hand.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfer brings out the dark and extreme lighting moments. The audio is 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio. The mix leans to those ominous tones as Jake realizes the wishes on a monkey’s paw aren’t so nice.

Audio Commentary with director Brett Simmons, cinematographer Scott Winig and actor Thomason. The trio discuss the movie which debuted on Chiller.

Trailer (1:44) sells the evil of the three wishes.

Making the Monkey’s Paw (4:47) has the cast and crew discuss the film.

The Monkey’s Paw is a fine horror adaptation of the short story. Lang is shocking as the tormenting coworker who won’t stop. You’ll never take a lucky monkey’s paw after watching this film.

Scream Factory presents The Monkey’s Paw. Directed by: Brett Simmons. Screenplay by: Macon Blair. Starring: Stephen Lang, C.J. Thomason and Charles S. Dutton. Rated: Not Rated. Running Time: 88 minutes. Released: June 17, 2014.