Saturday, July 16, 2016
Worry Dolls (2016)
DIRECTOR: Padraig Reynolds
R. Brandon Johnson
Two detectives who are on the hunt for a serial killer finally catch and kill him during a rescue mission of his latest victim. They end up retrieving a box full of small dolls from the crime scene. When the detective's daughter removes the box unknowingly, thinking that they are a gift for herself. An ancient curse is unleashed on this small town. Whoever takes possession of the dolls becomes enraged and wants to kill all in their path. It is now up to the detectives to try and track down the dolls and end the curse once and for all.
Going into a movie called Worry Dolls. I can't deny that I was indeed worried about what the outcome might be once I was finished with this film. I hadn't witnessed the trailer or much promotion for the film. Yet with my recent run of terrible supernatural indie films. I anticipated that Worry Dolls may follow down that same path. Luckily for me, this time around. I found a movie that finally broke my horror indie losing streak and gave me a fun hour and a half on the couch.
From the first few minutes of Worry Dolls, I was hooked. We have a scene that almost feels like the opening of the brilliant French film Martyrs. We see a victim tied up who manages to escape what appears to be a warehouse in a remote industrial area. This is where it deviates from Martyrs to deliver one of the best death scenes of the year and the crowning achievement in this movie. The excellent use of gore, blood, and a power drill had me clapping ecstatically in my seat. It was unexpected, and for that, I loved every second of it.
The movie during its second act doesn't do much in the way of trying to build on its plot or even give us much backstory about the Worry Dolls. It's never really explained as to what they do or where they came from during the early stages of the movie. We are shown scenes of people suddenly changing and turning evil when they come into possession of the dolls. A small scene towards the end that explains how they need to be destroyed is about all we get in the way of exposition. It's very light on plot.
I would usually find myself grilling a movie for not having that much depth regarding the story but from the first murder onwards, Worry Dolls moves at a very brisk pace and dishes out gore and bloodshed for the vast majority of its running time. The film never really slows down, and I found myself relishing in the violence. I'm pretty sure many people will call this film a lot of different things, but 'boring' shouldn't be one of them. Pacing is not one of the movie's problems.
The ending of the film isn't anything to write home about either. Once the conclusion comes around, we know precisely how this will conclude. It's somewhat predictable. The first hour and twenty minutes of this movie is a lot of fun but with the twist that you can see coming from a mile away just feels like a bit of a letdown. However, I still found myself enjoying Worry Dolls even if the film lacked on plot or even had a twist and ending that's been done many times in the past.
Visually, I found the film to be well made. The film isn't exactly heavy on the visual effects, but the makeup work and demon effects looked well done. The gore looked great as well. A lot more practical than computer generated from what I could tell. From a cinematography point, the film isn't exactly groundbreaking. I got a feeling from the town that the movie was filmed somewhere in the deep south as they used their locations well. I got a sense of swampland.
As I mentioned above, the movie is incredibly fast-paced. It's not exactly a slow build type of horror movie. We go from bloody kill to bloody kill. The pace of this film really doesn't lend the film a lot of time to build up tension or suspense. We have one attack scene where a character who we grow to care about is murdered and even though we see it coming, this is probably the only scene in the film that had me on the edge of my seat and actually moved me emotionally.
Lastly, the acting in Worry Dolls is solid for the most part. I enjoyed Christopher Wiehl who I'm aware of from his time on an early Buffy episode. He's a decent leading man, and I'm impressed to learn he was also a writer on this movie. I'm glad to see that he is doing more things. Kym Jackson as his partner is also decent in her role. She may get a little hammy in some scenes, but I still found her performance rather well done. She plays a tough as nails detective well.
DEATH TOLL: 9
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A power drill to the skull.
- People are gunned down.
- Crime scene photos of victims.
- Scissors stabbed into someone's throat.
- A shotgun blast to the chest.
- A dog is stabbed to death.
- Stabbed and throat sliced with garden shears.
- A hairdryer is placed on someone's skin.
- Throat cut with glass.
- A woman is stabbed in the stomach and set on fire.
I don't see Worry Dolls winning any Oscars in the future. However, I found the film to be a hell of a lot of fun. Even though the movie is light on plot and has a predictable twist. I still enjoyed the film's fast pace, acting and bloody kills. If you're looking for a movie that is easy on the brain yet delivers on the carnage, I think you should enjoy Worry Dolls. Definitely worth a once off watch if you get a chance. Let it be known that if you try tracking down the film, it's called The Devil's Dolls in several markets.