After finally stopping a serial killer thru a manhunt that lasted for three years, a Mississippi detective finds him self dealing with a strange series of murders committed by people that never showed signs of aggression nor any relation between them. After exhausting all logical explanations, Matt and his partner Darcy will have to seek help from an expert in black magic and consider the possibility that the murders are the result of a curse coming the murderer they just killed thru some antique dolls, and that if they are not destroyed by dawn, more people, the detective’s daughter among them, will die.
“The Devil’s Dolls” (Also know as “Worry Dolls”, which in my opinion, is a tittle that makes more sense after seeing the movie) might seem a typical film about possessions, but luckily its something more interesting than that. At the beginning it looks like an slasher film (I don’t know if it was an homage or if I’m just associating everything with “Hostel” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) but quickly turns into a detective film effectively set in the horror genre, and although it might not have a big budget, it never gave me the impression that it fell short to the story it was aiming to tell.
The film is overall is quite good and entertaining, worth watching it a couple of times, it has some interesting twists and it does not cheat the audience, since the movie gives you some clues (although very subtle ones) that you might miss on the first watch that set some pieces for the third act, and that is something that I respect when writers manage pull it off. The movie has good doses of blood and gore with very well played action sequences, without abusing the jump scares (I am not saying that they are not there, I just pointing out that they were not that many to piss you off). The few special effects that were in the film are very good, and although I can’t say all the acting was top level, I didn’t find any performance that took me out from the story.
Now, let see some details that didn’t quite click with me: there were several shots with what I call the “Drunken Camera” that I thought had no reason to be shot that way and were kind of annoying. There are also some moments where we got to just go with the flow and not question the logic in what is happening (I don’t want to get into spoilers, but let’s say that I don’t think some evidence from a crime scene would be so easy to get from a car, specially after a 3 year manhunt) and there is a scene almost at the end of the film where a character runs for his/her life that is almost comical… Again, I don’t want to give anything away, still none of these details destroys the movie or anything like that, I just thought they were worth mentioning.
In the end, the film is very recommendable, specially because its premise, the fast pace and that although we might not relate 100% with some of the characters, their reactions and motives are very understandable and believable. I could argue that NO ONE in his/her right mind would buy dolls that creepy and even less wear them as “luck charms”, but just as the film does a great job explaining why nobody questions the change in Chloe’s personality (She is the detective’s daughter), we can believe that someone would buy the strange necklaces just for sympathy.
In the cast we have Christopher Wiehl as Matt, the detective and main character (Who we was in “Jericho” and “Playmakers”), Kym Jackson, Samantha Smith, Yohance Myles (Clarke Devereaux in “Constantine”) Bea Grant (The speedster in “Heroes”, and the voluptuous Dee Dee in “Smothered”), and Tina Lifford among others.
Directed by Padraig Reynolds (Rites of Spring) and written by Danny Kolker with Christopher Wiehl. “The Devil’s Dolls” has a release date on VOD and selected theaters on September 16th vía IFC Midnight’s Films.
UPDATE: We’ve just been told that the cast and crew in the film will be attending the premiere screening on September 16th in the Arena Cinema Hollywood for a Q&A session, more details at this link, so if you live near the Los Angeles area, be sure to chek it out!