What Jack Built sees the titular character (Timothy J. Cox), isolated and desperate in his cellar, building a contraption to catch a lurking creature outside. But we don’t know what that creature is, and neither does he, and nobody knows how this will end.
It’s true, we don’t know who he is, what he’s building, or what exactly is out there, but sadly this short mystery fails to intrigue; at a mere 11 minutes in length, the film is mostly comprised of Jack tinkering around, putting together this contraption and hoping for good results but doesn’t really provoke any interest in what’s going on. Timothy J. Cox offers a good silent performance, and ultimately the decision to make this practically a silent film was a good idea, however the choice of music is a large part of what lets this film down. At no point does it ever truly fit the film, it doesn’t suit anything we see on screen and often times feels like it’s aiming for something different than the imagery itself. I wonder if actual silence may have lent a hand to creating a dark and mysterious atmosphere far better.
It’s a definitely a well shot film, but lacks interest when every shot is mostly of the same thing; the few shots from the creature’s perspective are great, but the majority of the run time is focused on Jack putting his contraption together, and it gets a little tiresome, with a pay off that doesn’t really have any impact.
It’s most certainly not for lack of trying; there is some skilled camera work present in this film with a strong leading performance, managing to convey what’s needed without saying a word, but it’s the stylistic choices made that make this film a little bit less than what it could be.