Review of "Dolls” by The Headless Critic
Dolls – 2019
Production by: Millman Productions
Distribution by: Uncork’d Entertainment
“The attic dolls live up the stairs, you’ll hear them laugh and run up there but when you go upstairs to play, they’ll be standing still each day. If you turn your back on them, you’ll hear them run around again and if you get to see them move, that is when they’ll come for you!”
A struggling children’s book author Robert Holbrook (Thomas Downey) has just inherited the house of his recently deceased mother (Melinda DeKay) who died of an untimely impaling of a knife to her head. Needing alcohol to help him put pen to paper Robert decides to retreat to his inherited house to try to finish his latest book. His rebellious teenage daughter Sammey (Trinity Simpson) unexpectedly joins her father in her grandmother’s house.
Feeling guilty over drinking while his daughter is in the house keeps Robert from writing enough, now his mother’s friend Margaret (Dee Wallace) is knocking at the door with her condolences and his daughter is getting attention from neighborhood boys. When Robert finds his mother’s old dolls in the attic, he gets the inspiration he needs but when Sammey starts hearing bumps in the night, they learn there’s something far more sinister than just toys in their attic.
A familiar script from low budget horror writers Jeff Miller and Justin and Josh Hawkins is released at a time when a couple of different dolls are currently killing people in theaters. Dolls is not similar to Annabelle nor Child’s Play other than there being killer dolls in the film. The low budget Dolls is also not related to the 1987 Stuart Gordon directed film of the same title. The fun-loving kills found in 1987 aren’t found in this modern day feature but to their credit instead of using poor CGI Dolls does go 80’s with killer dolls that barely move on screen stalking their victims in mostly still shots.
The biggest flaw with most modern day horror films, low budget or not is poor acting and a lack of building characters you care about. Actor turned first time director Cuyle Carvin successfully builds characters you care about with good performances all around in his cast, specifically on screen father, daughter duo played by Thomas Downey and Trinity Simpson. The blood, elaborate kills and fun you expect to find in a Chucky or Puppet Master movie leaves something to be desired in this darling doll feature. Good simple storytelling goes a long way into making this a solid indie horror film that is enjoyable.
“You can’t hide from the attic dolls, they’re watching from inside the walls. When you try to run from them, that’s when the real fun begins. You’ll wish you hadn’t come to stay, when you look away they play.”
Available on VOD July 2nd, 2018
2 out of 5 Headless Critics