Jack's Back - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Jack's Back Reviews

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½ November 22, 2017
Unique thriller involving the "Jack the Ripper" copycat during the present time with John Westford played by James Spader who is a medical student getting himself killed and his twin bother, Rick Westford also played by Spader psychological knowing about how it was done as a result of an automatic mental connection because they were twins.
June 10, 2017
Wow, a shit ton about this movie is given away in the synopsis. Nice job.
½ November 23, 2016
A lost gem worth rediscovering.
½ October 14, 2016
"Where can I run? / Red harvest comes"

31 Days of Horror: JACK'S BACK (1988)

One hundred years to the day after the originals, a copycat reenacts the crimes of the most notorious serial killer of all time. Jack's back, and young medical student John Wesford may be connected to the murders.

This serial chiller-too cool to thrill-makes up in style what it lacks in narrative. Herrington the writer has savvy enough to hide how high-concept his premise proves, revealing his true intentions through innovative twists near the middle and end of the film. Yet the beats in between feel rote-or would if Herrington the director didn't compensate with compelling compositions and performances. (Johnson's cinematography, while gorgeous, is so gloriously 80s that were you to mute the movie, you'd hear it whisper "Michael Mann.") Herrington asks much of James Spader (as Wesford), and Spader answers with aplomb. A year before his breakthrough SEX, LIES, AND VIDEOTAPE, he adds layers to a lead role that already demands a rare degree of range.

JACK'S BACK backs Spader's acting with equally subtle violence. JACK'S never goes for gross-out gore like Jackson (or, indeed, like you would expect from a film named after the Whitechapel Murderer), preferring violence that affects over effects. A particular death, however bloodless, ranks among the most distressing committed to celluloid. Because we know the deceased as humans first and victims second, JACK'S BACK becomes one of the few horror films to actually horrify-even as it shows viewers a ripping good time.

In addition to its Ripper rip-off, JACK'S BACK boasts a Peter Gabriel sound-alike so killer you won't care that it opens *and* closes the film-or my review.

"Stars forsake me"
½ May 13, 2016
A typical Hollywood thriller in the 1980s.
February 6, 2016
Interesting but I could see the ending a mile away.
February 5, 2016
Campy fun with an interesting (to say the most) twist on the Ripper story. Some of the actions are so improbable that it is hard to say one can "buy" the story here. Still worth a look on a rainy day though.
January 31, 2016
MVP: James Spader. Easy to see how great he is even back in this film. Worth watching just for him. As for the film itself, it is made worthwhile for the last fifteen minutes. The rest of the movie is just kind of... Basic. The police are extremely incompetent, which took me out of the movie a few times. Who are these men? The Manitowoc County police department?? Not entirely sure how Rick Westford's thought process kept him going where he did... But James Spader always sells it. Cynthia Gibb also made a good supporting character.
March 22, 2015
This is one of those movies that you don't know why you like it, but do. I end up watching it at least once a year.
December 29, 2014
Not a slam dunk but a nice way to further the Jack the ripper schtick.
Super Reviewer
April 25, 2014
Sometimes there is a forgotten gem of a horror film that resurfaces and manages to grab your attention; in the case Jack's Back it is very much the case. This is a well crafted horror film that boasts elements of crime and thriller films and the result is a truly unique film with some very good performances. The beauty part about the film is that it has much more mature elements than your standard Slasher film. The acting here is quite good and there is genuine tension in many scenes. Films in this genre are rare because they don't just feature mindless killing, and it adds much depth and suspense to the story and film. Slasher films are great fun, but they're even better when they have a well executed script, good performances and terrific kill sequences. Halloween, Black Christmas and Just Before Dawn are prime examples of such movies that successfully used suspense in the plot to elevate the film from just another Slasher film. The result is an impressive feature that is sure to thrill diehard genre fans that enjoy finding forgotten films that are at times better than most of the standard films in the genre. James Spader does some fine work here, and he is well suited for the part he plays. If you're looking for a well crafted horror Jack's Back is one of those films that is worth seeing, and merits to be rediscovered by horror enthusiasts due to the fact that it's a tense, smart and above all memorable outing that stands as one of the most impressive Slashers due in part to its well written script, genuine scares and well paced tension.
October 18, 2013
A man has dreams that hold the key to stopping a Jack the Ripper copycat killer in Los Angeles. Decent suspense film and liked Spader in the lead. Of note, the newsman on TV in this film is the same newsman we saw in Robocop.
½ May 20, 2013
You should be able to figure out who the ripper is twenty minutes or less, but I've heard there are two differnt versions out there. Where's my sex scene!? Cynthia Gibb looks like a growned up Emma Watson!
½ April 19, 2013
A Jack The Ripper clone is slaying prostitutes in L.A. in exactly the same fashion and exactly 100 years to the day from the original killings. With one more victim to come, police frantically search for the killer. This one is done pretty well with Spader in the lead, maybe could have used a better title and a little more money behind it from the studio.
½ March 19, 2013
At times it is hindered by the 80's production values, which doesn't help, but Jack's Back is a decent thriller and features James Spader in a decent performance.
½ January 31, 2013
100 years after London's most notorious crime spree, a copycat killer has taken the city of Los Angeles by storm as he recreates each of Jack the Ripper's bloody murders. Rick looks to clear his twin brother's name after he is mistakingly identified as the killer, which leads him straight into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the real villain! James Spader stars in Rowdy Herrington's Horror debut, JACK'S BACK, from 1988. Sure, Herrington broadcasts many of the film's surprises very early on, but watching the contrived sequence of events play out exactly to the audience's expectations is half the fun! Spader is enjoyable in each of his dual performances, both as the selfless Dr. Westford and as his brazen, streetwise brother, Rick. While it rarely strays from standard convention, JACK'S BACK takes a playful stab at the Horror/Thriller genre.
½ October 12, 2012
a good james spader movie
August 11, 2012
Surprisingly clever serial killer thriller with two good performances both given by James Spader. (Yes, I meant that exactly as I wrote it.)
May 23, 2012
1988, 100 years after Jack The Ripper terrified the city of London, a series of copycat murders spring forth under the neon lights of Los Angeles. James Spader plays twin brothers caught in the middle of the killings with Robert Picardo's mama's boy police detective hypnotizing his way to the truth. Director Rowdy Herrington would go on to direct the 80s cheeze classic Road House, but Jack's Back is a rather weak rip off of the much superior Robert Bloch short story "Your's Truly, Jack The Ripper." Still, Spader is fun in the duel roles, especially the slimy naughty brother. VF.
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