Having just reviewed Boo, the directorial debut of Rakefet Abergel, I was keen to see her previous short, Jax In Love, which she wrote and starred in. Directed by Colin Campbell (Guido, Dollface) this is a film that puts a unique spin on a fairly cliched character archetype.
Jax (Rakefet Abergel, Superbad) is a lonely soul wandering the desert back roads. All she wants is some companionship, maybe even love. But when she finds herself stranded in the middle of nowhere it sets off a chain of events that show just why that’s so difficult for her. And dangerous for the objects of her affections.
While it’s definitely a horror film, Jax In Love doesn’t produce the typical kinds of scares or fear. We’re given big clues about Jax’s nature almost from the start. The film fills in the details as it does along. It’s as much a character study as a straight-up fright film. Even if the character in question has some dark secrets.
Abergel gave herself an excellent showcase role as Jax, and she makes the most of it. Just like she did in Boo she gets at the humanity within what would normally be seen as a monster. It would have been easy to play the role as simply evil or completely amoral. Although topping The Hitcher or Dust Devil in that regard would be tough. But Jax is a much more complex persona. And the more you know the harder it is not to feel sympathy for her as well as fear of her.
Jax In Love and Abergel herself picked up several awards during the film’s festival run. And it’s easy to see why. It’s actually still playing the occasional festival and is starting to turn up on some streaming services. You can check the film’s Facebook page and website for details.
Perhaps though, the true measure of Jax’s appeal is the character making a cameo in other people’s films such as Aaron Barrocas’ Half-Cocked. It also appears there might be a sequel. I’d be good with that.