March 5, 2018 Anne (Movie Review)
Dolls were originally created as vessels to host spirits of the dead, and families of the dead believed that their loved ones would live inside these creations. If you can check your pediophobia at the door, feel free to explore the new Horror offering Anne, which arrives to DVD on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, thanks to Cinedigm and ITN Distribution.
In Lutz, Florida, in an old, dusty, somewhat ramshackle ranch that could be your grandparents’ home lives Anne (Gail Yost in her acting debut) and her collection of dolls. Her dolls come in nearly every shape, size, and ethnicity, and Anne is a doting mother to the awkward family; often rocking them gently or setting them a place at her kitchen table. If this all sounds a little bizarre, well, Anne has not been acting quite right as of late: she is coughing up blood, having hallucinations, and, almost completely mute, she is seemingly lost inside her own mind.
What follows is the tale of one old woman who is haunted by her past and desperately trying to find solace in her fabricated little family. Ultimately, you will have to decide: is she suffering from dementia, cabin fever, or is she living in a home possessed by plastic evil? Clocking in at 80 minutes in length, Anne was written and directed by Joseph Mazzaferro (Limo Driver short 2015, Scathing 2016).
The film also stars Natalie Pitcher (The Struggle Within short 2016, A Running Start short 2017) as Sarah; Michael Kenneth Fahr (For Christ’s Sake 2010, Victimized 2014) as Anne’s concerned son Nick; Melissa Daddio, in her acting debut, as TV personality Hope Matthews; John Kyle (The Sacred 2009, The Tenant 2010) as Anne’s husband John; and Director Mazzaferro makes a cameo as Anne’s son Kyle.
While Anne is billed as a Horror offering, the film plays out more like a Drama with Paranormal leanings; which is to say that unless you are one of the few individuals that suffer from pediophobia (or fear of dolls) – or are simply afraid of Florida – there is nothing truly scary herein. Unlike the truly creep-tastic Chucky, Anne’s dolls merely sit and gape, looking like dolls do.
Rather than being spooky, Anne is a slow-moving, awkward, stilted and bizarre film with barely any dialogue spoken throughout its 80-minute duration. That said, by the time the first words are spoken halfway through the film, viewers will long since have lost interest in this poor old lady and her foster children.
The ensemble cast here are offered varying roles of importance, with Yost in the titular role and receiving the most screen-time for her efforts. Yost is a solid actress who does her best with what is given her and, in this instance, that is not much at all. She is left to wander from room to room, front door to mailbox, playing with dolls, scratching at her shoulder, and mimicking speech to herself though her on-screen dialogue amounts to perhaps three sentences. Those that do the best with what they are given – and it is not much – are Daddio, as the TV show host Hope Matthews, and Pitcher, as Sarah. Neither woman is truly given a stellar, well-rounded role, but each lady plays her role with as convincing a fervor as possible. Alongside Yost, they hold down the bulk of the production.
In truth, Anne tries to communicate a story that is utterly banal, even had it been communicated effectively. There is no clear delineation between what is reality and what is happening inside characters’ (mainly Anne’s and Nick’s) minds, making for stilted transitions that do not relay the story fluidly. In the end, it all comes together and you will understand, but the journey to that realization is a drawn-out and entirely snooze-worthy festival of dolls.
Ultimately, Anne is a film that depicts a gray-haired woman wandering through her property in a housecoat and slippers, passing the hours by watching TV, sending fan mail, and canoodling with her fabricated family. If you think about it, Anne is a reflection of many of today’s forgotten elderly and is, therefore, more of a sad social commentary than anything Horror-related. For these reasons, CrypticRock give Anne 2.5 of 5 stars.