Everyone’s favourite scream queen, Dee Wallace is back in a horror movie about demonic dolls! No, it’s not the latest entry in the Puppet Master series but rather a new effort from director, Cuyle Carvin in his debut.
Getting someone of her calibre is worth crowing about but it should be noted that Dee Wallace is not the star and probably only has about 15 minutes of screen time. Instead we have Tom Downey as Robert in the lead role as a struggling children’s author alongside his teenage daughter, Sammey played by Trinity Simpson.
The pair move into a new house (don’t they always?) and discover a couple of mysterious dolls in the attic. Over a period of time, Trinity believes she hears them moving around and after a visit by the neighbour, Margret (Dee Wallace) becomes convinced the dolls are evil.
She’s not wrong. They have a very sinister part, one that involves bloodshed and it is beginning to have an effect on her father, Robert.
The basic frame of Dolls’ story is hardly worth getting excited about. We’ve had our share of evil/killer dolls and this one doesn’t offer anything fresh there. However, Dolls does go into a little more detail regarding their origin and it is quite clever.
The crux of it is a man had demons, diagnosed as multiple personality disorder. To try and help him, a nurse came up with the idea of him sending his demons into a trio of dolls. She figured the cathartic nature of this would help him. However, what she didn’t know was that the man had literal demons inside him.
Those demons now inhabit the Dolls and they’re not happy about losing their human host. That’s different and pretty interesting! The flashback scenes that show this are done well walking us along until it’s ready to drop us down a hole.
Of course our main characters find this out, far too late resulting in an entertaining and bloody finale.
Credit to both Downey and Simpson who play their roles with some gusto. They have good chemistry as father and daughter meaning later scenes really have some impact. Of course, as soon Dee Wallace is on screen, the film massively improves. Her role is a bit more subdued here but she commands the screen and is always great to watch.
It’s a shame though that the film is just too slow at times and doesn’t offer any real scares. Then we have the middling side-story regarding Robert’s failed marriage to Sammey’s mother. Which is only there so we can have a death scene later.
Also Robert’s descent into madness isn’t handled with care and a few more scenes of his torment/struggling with his alcoholic issues would have been good.
Overall though, Dolls is not a bad film and good effort from a first time director.