ANYTHING FOR JACKSON – directed by Justin G Dyck – SPOILERS
Shannon Becker (Konstantina Mantelos) is surprised and dismayed when Dr. Walsh (Julian Richings) tells her she’s pregnant, but Walsh is very pleased and even sheds a tear over the discovery. Shannon is (at the time) happy that her doctor is so concerned about her, but that lasts only until she is abducted and imprisoned by Walsh and his wife Audrey (Sheila McCarthy) for the purpose of resurrecting their dead grandson Jackson (Daxton William Lund) by having his spirit inhabit Shannon’s unborn child. The doctor and his wife are in possession of the “oldest book in the world” which contains instructions for doing that, and finding that book required the assistance of Satanist Ian (Josh Cruddas) and a few of his cohorts. (Difficulties developed because, although Ian is knowledgeable, it turns out that he is not entirely sane.)
Despite elaborate planning, things do not go smoothly for Henry and Audrey. Shannon’s disappearance draws the attention of Detective Bellows (Lanette Ware) and since Dr. Walsh is the last person to have seen Shannon alive, he becomes her prime suspect. Another thorn in Walsh’s side is Rory (Yannick Bisson) who normally clears the driveway of snow and refuses to go away despite repeated requests. (His wife kicked him out and is suing for full custody of his kids, and he is not happy about that.) The entire story seems to be concerned with reproductive and progeny issues of one sort or another.
Mrs. Walsh creates other problems. She tests the book by using one of its resurrection spells on a dead bird and is quite happy when it works, but Henry is concerned.
HENRY: “We can’t be bringing dead things back to life.”
AUDREY: “Well, I can. I’ve been doing it all morning.”
We never find out exactly what she’s been bringing back to life.
A murder of crows shows up in their backyard and the Walshes conclude that its presence has something to do with their recent necromantic activities. (It is a blackbird that we see Audrey resurrect, and the crows are probably looking for more of their long lost relatives.) The Walshes are not religious fanatics. They are a polite elderly couple amateurishly dabbling in the black arts. Richings and McCarthy portray them in a delightfully understated manner.
Meanwhile, the very pregnant Shannon is handcuffed to a bed in a soundproofed room in the Walsh’s home which is located in one of the red states. (We know that last thing only because Dr. Walsh told Shannon that if she wanted an abortion she would need to go out-of-state. Also, he carefully never used the word “abortion”.) The first thing that Shannon sees when she wakes in captivity is the cherubic face of the long-deceased Jackson, whose spirit seems to like the idea of being reincarnated as Shannon’s baby. Jackson greets her with the enigmatic statement: “Aloha means hello and goodbye.” Another ghost will visit Shannon, and at least two more will appear to Dr. Walsh and his wife (sometimes to one or the other, sometimes to both).
The main apparitions are Flossing Ghost (Marianne Sawchuk), Suffocating Ghost (Troy James), and Trick or Treat Ghost (Ai Barrett). (A tall version of the Trick or Treat Ghost is played by Kyle Sipkins.) The scariest of the ghosts is Flossie, and she first appears about thirty minutes into the film.
Might there be more ghosts? Keith Cooper told Jessica Scott of Nightmarish Conjurings: “There are hidden ghosts in the movie…Justin [Dyck] had these great ideas to hide them. So, on second watch, maybe people should look around, because it’d be very cool to hear people talking about finding the other hidden ghosts.”
The first music we hear in the film is “Daisy Bell“, a song inspired by Countess Daisy Grenville. It is sung by Keith Cooper, who also wrote the screenplay, and is heard as the struggling Shannon is being carried into the house. At the end, the traditional folk song, “I Have a Bonnet Trimmed With Blue” plays, illustrating the story’s outcome.
When I’ll go away with my fair-haired man.
Open the window, do love, do!
Listen to the music playing for you!”