"Dolls" 2019 is directed by Cuyle Carvin in his feature directorial debut. The film stars Dee Wallace, Tom Downey, Trinity Simpson, Bret Green and Elise Muller. "Dolls" is a slow-burn horror thriller with a sinister ending.
The story concerns a struggling children's book author and his rebellious teenage daughter who move into a house they've inherited and find mysterious dolls in the attic. They soon learn that the dolls have a sinister -- and deadly -- past.
"Dolls" is reminiscent of 80's prop horror films like "Puppet Master" and 1987's "Dolls", keeping with a slow paced scary story format. In this film, the story does move a bit too slow in the beginning. Too much time is spent teasing the horror to come, and clumsily creating character development. It gets a little tedious but Thomas Downey's portrayal of Robert does help break up the monotony with comic relief , and a general relatability- complete with "Dad jokes".
The acting is decent, at times there is clear indication that the script never quite matured. Still, the cast did an excellent job bringing these characters to life. I do feel a need to complain there wasn't enough Dee Wallace. With a stronger script maybe it wouldn't have been so noticable, but given the over-exaggerated drama that eats up the first hour, and weak jump scares, I found myself wishing Wallace's onscreen presence was stronger.
The horror elements are not as strong as I was hoping for going into "Dolls". Expected jump scares are weak, mostly just soneone being creeped out by a doll. A couple of the kill sequences fall a bit short, but were still a welcomed sight. Carvin is clever in his choices as far as how to shoot the horror elements, very much the way Full Moon shoots their stuff these days.
The last act is the real ticket. The sinister, and tragic way the story ends, and those last few deaths are what I was hoping for the first two acts. Overall "Dolls" will disappoint as much as it will entertain. This isn't a high intensity thriller, and there are holes in the story. Still it is worth checking out at least once, just don't expect to be scared. (2.5/5)