This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Tak1408’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
So, Stuart Gordan & Brain Yuzna once again collaborated with the Puppet Master himself, Charles Band.
Well, I definitely had a good time with this one. It’s not a shock that the dolls are alive. Even the tagline gave it away. Still, there are some surprises like the young girl’s teddy bear shows up as a giant and kills her father and her wicked stepmother. A dream of course.
The plot is quite simple. Very easy to follow. 6 six people spend a night in an old mansion. The owners themselves are dollmakers. So yeah, every room is filled with dolls, Jesus. And what a shock! There are alive!! Dun Dun Duuuuuuuuuuun.
Right from the beginning, you find the little girl likeable. Not annoying at all. Plus, adorable. I’m surprised the actress hasn’t done anything after this. Shame. For a moment I thought she was Mara Wilson. Right off the bat, you can tell that all the grownups are assholes or jerks. Except for the old couple and the character Ralph. Little Judy’s parents see the dolls as nothing more than garbage. The 2 hitchhikers see them as antiques to make money. Ralph is the only one who has bits of childhood still left in him. Therefore, the little girl Judy and Ralph share a bond together. Even the film spells it out that you have a child and an adult with a child’s heart. Even though little Judy gets a new “creepy” doll “Mr Punch” to replace her teddy bear, you can still picture Ralph as her big teddy bear. So, both go on an adventure, exploring the mansion.
It does feel like a long Tales from the Crypt or Tales from the Dark Side episode. The likeable characters make it while the assholes suffer or get punished. It’s sort of a test, which was a nice touch.
The script was solid. Even the unlikeable characters were funny in places and at times gave you some over the top or bad acting in a fun way especially one of the two hitchhikers. Her delivery was bad at times but hey, it made me chuckle. Ralph did it at times, but it sort of fits with his character.
So what about the dolls? So many of them. You do get the typical generic-looking dolls where no one would find them scary unless you’re one of those fools who films the 3 AM challenge crap. But the ones who get the most attention or close-ups are a bit eerie or creepy especially with the human eyeballs…eh.
You know, this might be a prequel or in the same universe as Ghosthouse (1988). Mr Punch sounds like the annoying clown doll from that movie. The one who wouldn’t shut the fuck up with the lullaby music, saying the words “Hi Rob. Hey there, hey there” or some shit like that.
Negatives? Umm, well it’s a small nitpick. At times you can clearly see the strings and sticks. Nowadays it's easy to hide those with CGI. Still, don’t let that stop you from enjoying it. And hey, you do get some stop-motion animation.
Overall, yeah check it out. It's fast-paced, has no boring parts, you have likeable characters, killer dolls, some funny dialogue, a couple of bad acting that will make you laugh etc. It’s just 77 mins and rated R. Too bad no Jeffrey Combs but you get other familiar faces.
Stuart Gordan along with his team did a solid job. The guy brought the dead back to life, so why not Dolls?
I almost forgot the end credits. It's pretty good, you get the same situation repeated with the different characters. So you know the outcome.