July 18, 2019 Dolls (Movie Review)
Arriving to VOD and DVD on Tuesday, July 2nd, Dolls is the latest Horror canon from Uncork’ed Entertainment. Perfect timing, considering a remake of Child’s Play hit theaters a couple of weeks prior, it should be noted the Cuyle Carvin directed Dolls is not in anyway a remake of the 1987 Stuart Gordon classic of the same name, but is equally as good. Interested yet? Read on.
A refreshing breath of fresh air in a time of remakes, Dolls succeeds in being one hell of a fright-filled, edge-of-the-seat nail-biter from start to finish. The plot alone is genre-bending enough to keep it from falling into the dreadful territory of clichédom, and will make hardcore Horror fans forget the overly-disappointing Annabelle series, and that one 2007 Dead Silence flick that had no idea what it wanted to be.
Here, in Dolls, recently-divorced Robert (Thomas Downey: Transmorphers 2007, Beast Mode 2018) decides to finish writing his newest children’s book inside the house where his mother had died. Here, he uses the solitude to help rid his mind free of bad memories, and to drink way too much alcohol. It is not until daughter Sammey (Trinity Simpson) shows up unannounced that Robert decides it is time to clean up his life, and be the daddy he has always wanted to be…
But something is quite peculiar with the three dolls Robert’s late-mother has sitting in the attic, for they show up in the darndest places—at the wrong times. At night, and sometimes during the day, Robert and Sammey hear tiny footsteps, lowly-spoken voices, and many other things that will go bump in the night. Whatever could be making such sounds?
It is best to watch Dolls in the dark with both hands tied to the arms of the chair. This movie is all chills and thrills, with some scenes so intense, once they are over, will cause one to remember to breathe, and that it is only a movie, chuckling aloud as the hairs on the neck settle back into place. What makes the movie so scary is the strong teamwork that went on behind the scenes, and the actors being tormented on camera.
An actor turned director, Cuyle Carvin (American Made 2017, The Walking Dead series) deserves an award for kicking over past-made “scary doll”-films so he could place his at the forefront. Carvin made characters written on paper come to life in true human form, giving the audience many people to root for, and a couple who will be wished to perish. Downey and Simpson are fantastic in their roles. Downey alone probably could have taken on the entire film as the sole actor with how well he holds the attention of the viewer, but the same could be said for Simpson, whose first-timer-chops seem more like she has been acting long before getting involved with Dolls.
Carvin does not over-burden the audience with red-splashed gore scenes, or overly-brutal, non-fun kill-offs. Instead, he uses the less-is-more approach to these particular scenes which is just what the doctor ordered. Seeing less of what happens adds to the already-creepy-scary vibe Carvin has installed for unsuspecting viewers. What truly gives off these vibes is in the golden touch of screenplay writers Justin Hawkins (Prick 2005, Ouija House 2018), and first-timer Josh Hawkins. The dialogue is too smart, too human, and too good to be true… but this is exactly what Horror audiences crave from their films: to be fulfilled, delighted, and thrilled; not put to sleep with overly-used crap peddled out of Hollywood for a quick buck, as someone might say, especially after watching Dolls.
Throw in a supporting role from veteran Actress Dee Wallace (The Howling 1981, Ouija House 2018) as Margaret—a strange neighbor, and old friend to Robert’s late-mother; a very likable Bret Green (Bones series, The Inspectors series) as Sammey’s love-interest James; and Elise Muller (Club Utopia 2013, The Phoenix Incident 2015) as ex-wife Lynn, who will tug the viewer in two different directions as she portrays a person whose past is equally as troubled as that of Robert.
Equally troubling is not having available space left to list so much more of what makes this movie tick and tock, and the many more people that have had a hand in making Dolls so gosh-darned good, and so gosh-darned awesome to watch, but with an amazingly creepy score, some fantastic camera-angles, and the imaginative work that went into the make-up FX, Dolls is a must-see Horror film that uses a slow-burn approach to a forgotten genre, incorporating family issues and a devious set of dolls to tell a damn good story.
As mentioned, this movie should not be watched with the lights on, it will ruin the effect of the camerawork and the sounds lurking around the big screen. For this and that, Cryptic Rock gives Dolls a 5 out of 5 stars.