A prequel to the prequel to The Conjuring films, the story here is that of how the evil doll Annabelle came to be. Years following a tragic accident, a doll maker and his wife take in a group of orphans needing a new place to live with the nun who watches over them. As they are forbidden to go in a specific room, the young girls get curious and something is awakened.
I would only suggest “The Boy” to folks that are quite fond of Lauren Cohan and want to see her dip her toes in to the horror genre yet again. It’s honestly the only reason why I bothered with “The Boy.” While director William Brent Bells‘s film has a neat concept, the premise quickly runs out of steam and the writers almost seem to scramble for a way to stay ahead of the audience and come up with a neat twist they simply weren’t expecting. Seriously, I would have preferred they gone down the road I was hoping they would, rather than drop this completely goofy plot twist in the climax that simply made no sense whatsoever.
Holy hell, if the Syfy Channel in America is trying to capitalize off of Annabelle from “The Conjuring,” they’re going about it all wrong. It’s hard to rationalize a movie so horribly inept and put together. Through no fault of my own I even fell asleep after the thirty minute mark from sheer boredom, and after awakening I couldn’t quite bring to rewind the film and begin again. “Finder’s Keepers” doesn’t require a lot of thought or explanation. It’s really just a hodgepodge of ideas that amount to absolutely zero. There’s no pay off, no reason to care for the characters, and the writing is painful.
You get the sense the writers really went in with nothing, when they build up a cast of characters, and the only two minorities end up being more interesting than our main characters. The film is mostly centered on Jaime Pressly and Patrick Muldoon’s divorced couple, and their efforts to save their daughter. Yet the entire time I wondered what the pair of Latin women investigating the paranormal, with insight in to the supernatural, was up to. In typical horror movie fashion, they die horribly, even though the main characters are the ones committing truly stupid acts.
Which is shameful since Justina Machado is insanely sexy and always a treat to watch on screen; I’ve always found Jaime Pressly attractive, but Machado actually makes her look plain by comparison. That digression aside, “Finder’s Keepers” is filled with idiotic plot twists, and utterly horrible dialogue. If that’s not enough the characters spend so much of their time bickering that they don’t notice their daughter is being possessed by an ugly doll she finds under a floor. When their friends begin turning up dead (including a utterly wasted Tobin Bell), they begin to figure out that their daughter is being overtaken by the doll she found.
The writers try to elude that the past owner has broken out of his asylum and is doing the murders, but oddly enough that’s dropped in favor of the adorable Kylie Rogers mugging for the camera. The red herrings fly fast and loose, and a lot of plot elements are injected just for the sake of compensating for the clear lack of frights. The writers can’t even decide what the doll is, offering explanations that maybe it’s a worry doll, or a voodoo doll, or an evil spirit, or the embodied spirit of its owner, or a demonic presence consuming the daughter. It’s basically whatever works toward finishing the film the quickest, and for that I thank them.
Well, if the writers don’t give a shit anymore, why should we? “Gingerdead Man” has seemingly given up trying after the first film, so I’ve given up trying to make sense of anything that’s happening in this movie series. When last we saw Gingerdead Man he was trolling a movie studio killing actors and directors for some reason. Now he’s being held in a prison with other psychotic baked goods. Spoofing “Silence of the Lambs,” he meets with female detective who wants his help in a case. It’s an obvious satire sans the laughs, but we now know there are other psychotic baked goods out there.
Well, one thing I can say about “Demonic Toys 2” is that it at least tries to feature the monsters from Demonic Toys. It avoids bringing back the laser shooting robot, and the evil teddy bear for obviously budgetary purposes, but it seems to try. There are moments even when we see the demonic toys in full form. But that’s rare. Basically “Demonic Toys 2” can’t hold a candle to the original. Which is sad considering the original was barely mediocre to begin with.
Director Joe Dante’s “Small Soldiers” is sadly a film without an actual audience. It’s tame for horror fans, and may possibly be much too menacing for kids. And while the film had real potential to burst out with merchandise and tie-ins, the premise never lasted beyond a single film. That’s a shame, too, since the idea of psychotic toys wreaking havoc almost never gets boring. As a hardcore fan of the “Puppet Master” movies, “Small Soldiers” feels like a high tech remake that really manages to work as dark comedy, and creepy fodder for young boys. War toys working toward their initiatives and becoming violent is just a great idea, even if the premise is far-fetched.