Any filmmaker able to mix Horror and Comedy into something fresh and exciting would be deemed a movie-making god. These thoughts in mind, Writer/Director Stephen Wolfe (Midnight Abyss 2011, 25 and Married series) attempts to do just that with his latest film Doll Factory set for release on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 via Wild Eye Releasing.
Doll Factory is a laugh-out-loud Comedy with an arm deep up the cheeky rear-end of Horror’s backside where it remains for the entire 90-minutes of the movie. In fact, there is never a dull moment as Wolfe centers the audience around a bunch of Halloween party-goers unwittingly setting free an evil that had been banished for many years. With this evil comes an army of scary dolls, all of which are tasked to deliver souls to an unseen force. It is up to the kiddies to take on the bad guys and rid the world of this evil for good. Yes, Doll Factory is no doubt a low-budgeter, but Wolfe used every dime and nickel to put forth one sensational movie experience.
The character development is simple, and the story is set up really well. An imaginative team of special effects artists put in some serious time to create some of the coolest, scary-looking dolls ever captured on film, and threw in some dismembered limbs, chunky gore, and pools of red blood just to even things out. The highlight of said dolls is that they are real—equipped to the lucky hands acting out the parts; and most of all—the dolls speak, delivering side-splitting one-liners while performing acts of violence upon unsuspecting victims.
Giving Doll Factory a big portion of life are the actors, and how well each one transforms into his and her character, but the biggest surprise are the acting chops of Justin Herman (Evil Deeds 2 2010, Midnight Abyss 2011). Stephen Wolfe wants so much for the audience to hate Herman’s jock-y, ill-tempered, misogynistic character Mark, but, because of Herman’s deadpan countenance and his slick dialogue deliverance, he becomes the anti-hero everyone will be hoping will make it out alive. Herman proves a phenomenal actor, doing just as well here in Doll Factory as Zachary Levi did in the underrated 2007 film Spiral.
More fun is had with Actor Boo Gay, whose character Darius helped rid the murderous dolls so many movie-years ago, but has to do it all over again—and with the bumbling help of the very people who re-unleashed the evil, of course. Darius is reluctant at first, but soon realizes he is the only hope the town has in defeating the evil. With this being his first movie: Boo Gay does some wondrous things with his Darius character, and is funny as all heck in his portrayal, succeeding well above first-timer expectations. The only weak parts are how long Darius’ lines can be, where it will seem like some of the words are lost in a long-winded breath as Boo Gay delivers dialogue in rapid-fire mode over a long period of time.
Doll Factory also features one of the coolest, meanest, and most sarcastic villains seen on screen in a long while, in the form of evil Yegor (Patrick Sane: Ratpocalypse 2015, Blood Corral 2018), which can be compared to that of the cool, but evil Djinn in 1997’s Wishmaster. Sane will appear like he was enjoying the heck out of his goofy but cool-as-ice character, and will keep the viewer very happy as he fights off the would-be heroes in some of funniest, most spoofiest scenes out there. During said moments, there is something really great to be seen, and that is the visual effects. No matter the budget, no matter the dollar, a lot of greatness went into these scenes. The visuals look absolutely fantastic, and are so much fun to watch as they colorfully splay across the screen.
Doll Factory is more Comedy than it will ever be Horror, but this is a good thing because of how non-challant the characters will seem during such horrific moments, and how gosh-darned funny every single person acting in this movie is. In enough words, Doll Factory will tickle the ribs, split some sides, and cause jaws to drop in awe at the very sight of a wonderfully-made movie. That is why Cryptic Rock gives it 5 out of 5 stars.