This strange Canadian gem probably isn’t quite what you were thinking. Yes, it’s about a life-sized, plastic medical dummy. But it’s also got a Psychoesque tinge to it and there’s a heavy lean on psychology. This definitely isn’t a fast-paced slasher, but it’s thoughtful and fairly original. As the training doll ages, it will be scarier in its vintage. If you can see through the awkward cheesiness of the film, you might be able to experience the realistic yet unique character and his development. I couldn’t help but be drawn to Leon, yet he was also easy to be revolted by. His words were very vulnerable and familiar, yet he was creepy, and very mannequin-like himself. Leon and his sister grow up with the doll, learning life lessons from their father who acted as the ventriloquist. A schizophrenic, Leon brings the doll into his adult life, giving it more lifelike accessories and talking to himself in Pin’s voice. Ultimately, Leon acts on his impulses, hiding behind Pin and spiraling out of control. The movie isn’t necessarily memorable as a Canadian movie, but it’s definitely memorable nonetheless.
Waaaaaaaaaaaaay better than the first one. Probably to do with the director, David F. Sandberg, who also did Lights Out. There are a few upcoming directors I’m following, and this guy might add himself to my list. The screenplay is by Gary Dauberman (Annabelle and the upcoming It and The Nun) and of course, it’s produced by James Wan. I don’t usually discuss the people behind the movie, but this is a real winning combination of horror minds. Lulu Wilson also stood out to me- I remembered her from Ouija: Origin of Evil, and Deliver Us from Evil. I hope she continues with the horror genre. So this one stuck with the demon/ ghost girl/ doll theme pretty well, although three things is already pushing it for me. I don’t particularly find dolls scary, so I’m glad the demon was involved. I feel more and more the importance of a movie’s consistency and main focus not muddied by other entities and useless storylines, so this was mildly refreshing. I was glad that the film focussed on the scares and darkness instead of lame CGI and a billion different monsters like some lazy movies…*cough*… Insidious. There were a few scenes and effects I could have done without, but overall, it was pretty solid. The acting was decent, and this film really knew how to drag out the tension. There were even a few cute touches thrown in, such as the original Raggedy Ann doll and the nun from The Conjuring, lurking in a photo. I could have done with more of a backstory to the girl and the doll and I’m still waiting to learn more about the demon. After seeing the first Annabelle, disappointment of the second installment was inevitable, however, I was quite impressed, which was most likely due to my low expectations.
This can’t be as bad as it sounds… I’m going into this with very low expectations hoping to be pleasantly surprised…
So now that I’m all moved in to my new house and no longer sleeping on the couch watching countless hours of TV, I’m back on the horror movie train. Starting it off with some lighter horrors, nothing to do with stalking or being alone in your apartment or anything. I figured a movie about a woman treating a doll like it’s a child has got to be pretty dumb. She is hired as a nanny by an old couple who think their porcelain doll is a reincarnation, perhaps, of their dead child. They pay a young, plain woman a handsome fee to care for the doll, and give her a list of rules to follow. The sitter of course breaks some of the rules and bad things happen, but the film doesn’t go in the direction you’re thinking. It’s not thrilling , there aren’t any real jump scares, and there’s not a lot of tension, so it relies heavily on the twist ending. If you are not a horror buff, the twist may surprise you, but I’ve seen a lot of movies with this theme (not the doll part) and it was easily guessable for me, but I was just so relieved (SPOILS!) that there wasn’t any supernatural ghost mumbo jumbo. (END SPOILS) I was hoping for a more of a back story explanation, and some tension build-up and more intense emotion could have really made this movie a strong one. But hey, the doll moves around the room, and the characters are, I’d say, mildly surprised and excited instead of freaking the fuck out like I would. Reminds me a lot of Black Christmas, and I’m just glad that it wasn’t as stupid as I expected.
*Friend score: 6/10 (the movie lover), 8/10 (the weak-willed watcher)