Brooks: Monster Slayer



Opens: Friday, Aug. 15 (Brookstreet Pictures & Anchor Bay Entertainment).

Straining for a tone found somewhere between "Evil Dead" and "Shaun of the Dead" (with an obvious nod toward a certain vampire killer by the name of Buffy), the Canadian horror comedy "Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer" promises a goofy dose of summer camp but proves to be as much fun as roll call.

A clunky first feature by short-film director Jon Knautz that already has been released north of the border (it was shot entirely in his home town of Ottawa), "Brooks" will unlikely slay 'em in U.S. theaters.

After witnessing the murder of his family by a carnivorous monster, traumatized Jack (Trevor Matthews) grows up to be a plumber with anger issues who inadvertently awakens an evil, zombie-making force while helping his science prof (an even hammier than usual Robert Englund) fix some rusty pipes in his creepy house.

That's pretty much it for plot.

Maybe if all those dull exchanges between the main characters (penned by Knautz and John Ainslie) didn't drone on for so darned long there would have been time left over for something more inspired. But when they finally let loose with all the oozing monster goop, the silly thrill is long gone.

Too bad Knautz couldn't have paced his picture around the playfully over-the-top score by Ryan Shore (nephew of Oscar-winning composer Howard Shore), which keeps moving even as everything else stops dead in its tracks.

Cast: Trevor Matthews, Robert Englund. Director: Jon Knautz. Screenwriters: Jon Knautz, John Ainslie. Producers: Patrick White, Trevor Matthews, Neil Bregman. Executive producers: Terry & Ann Matthews. Director of photography: Joshua Allen. Production designer: Jason MacIsaac. Music: Ryan Shore. Editor: Matthew Brulotte. Sales agent: The Collective. Rated R, 85 minutes.

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