The Devil’s Dolls (2016)

the-devils-dollsA police detective investigating a serial killer takes a box of dolls with him.  His daughter gets her hands on them, and then turns them into jewelry which gets spread around town by well-meaning buyers.  Soon the wearers turn evil and things become bloody. Written by Danny Kolker and Christopher Wiehl and directed by Padraig Reynolds, The Devil’s Dolls takes the possessed item idea and multiplies it, sending multiple cursed/possessed items into a community to wreak havoc.

The characters they create here are believable, a divorced detective, his ex-wives, her new fiancé, his daughter, and the people around them.  They put these characters in a good story but the way it’s developed and executed feels more like horror for the Lifetime Channel, it’s very mild and a bit expected to the more seasoned horror fan. The cast chosen for this is talented and work with their parts well.

In the role of Matt the detective, is Christopher Wiehl who also co-wrote and he does well with the part, showing concern when needed and obsession over his case.  In the part of Matt’s ex-wife Amy, Samantha Smith shows talent and a natural maternal instinct.  Shining through her part of Becca, Brea Grant is the one who attracts attention the most and steals a few scenes.  She’s like a spunky ray of sunshine even in some of her darker scenes.  The whole cast does well with no one being off mark.

The film looks a bit made for TV; it’s well shot but feels like a TV movie.  The cinematography by Adam Sampson frames everything well, but it doesn’t add to the story.  It doesn’t take anything away from the film, but it doesn’t bring more to it.  The film unfortunately looks a bit generic.

The special effects are a bit uneven.  The blood effects are great, there is plenty bloody goodness and it looks right.  However, the big fire effect looks goofy and definitely like a stunt person replacing the actor/actress in the part.  It actually takes the view out of the scene and the film, killing its effectiveness.

The film on a whole is not bad but a bit formulaic, a slasher-ish piece with a spirit possessing people by way of horcrux-like pieces, making them go stabby.  It’s bloody but rather inoffensive, like horror for the horror fans’ non-loving moms.  It feels almost like a small town family drama with supernatural overtones.