Jack's Back (1988)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

The "Jack" who's "back" in this contemporary chiller is none other than Jack the Ripper. The scene is Los Angeles: the time is August of 1988, exactly 100 years after the Ripper's original reign of terror in Whitechapel. When several LA prostitutes turn up murdered and disemboweled, young physician James Spader is accused of emulating Spring Heel'd Jack. Before the film is half over, Spader is killed, and so far as the police are concerned, the case is closed. But then, Spader's twin brother appears on the scene, determined to track down the genuine culprit (if it doesn't turn out to be him, that is!). Handled with restraint, Jack's Back covers much of the same ground as the classic Robert Bloch tale Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper," though its crucial plot twist is a tad more clever (if a bit silly out of context).
R (adult situations/language, violence)
Action & Adventure , Horror , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Screen Media


James Spader
as John/Rick Westford
Cynthia Gibb
as Chris Moscari
Rex Ryon
as Jack Pendler
Roi Loomis
as Dr. Sidney Tannerson
Robert Picardo
as Dr. Carlos Battera
Rod Loomis
as Dr. Sidney Tannerson
Jim Haynie
as Sgt. Gabriel
Wendell Wright
as Capt. Walter Prentis
Chris Mulkey
as Scott Morofsky
Danitza Kingsley
as Denise Johnson
John Wesley
as Sam Hilliard
Bobby Hosea
as Tom Dellerton
Kevin Glover
as Neil Finchley
Diane Erickson
as Andrea Banks
Graham Timbes
as Surgeon
Mario Machado
as Anchorman
Spencer Clarke
as Pimp #2
Richard Parker
as Reporter
Frances Fleming
as 911 Operator
Shawne Rowe
as Helen
John Harrison
as Chooch
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Jack's Back

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (1)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | January 10, 2004
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

A quintessential dirty '80s thriller

Full Review… | March 25, 2016
Film Freak Central

The plotting is too haphazard to completely overcome any deficiencies.

Full Review… | January 30, 2016
Creative Loafing

No excerpt available.

October 9, 2005
Fantastica Daily

Audience Reviews for Jack's Back

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.

Robert I (Master of All Movies)
Robert I (Master of All Movies)

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.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

Yet another thriller about a possible Jack the Ripper type killer. Spader does a good job as usual, but he's surrounded by bad actors and a predictable story. Overall, it's okay, but not good.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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