Saturday, 19 April 2014

Night of the Dolls (2014)

(Online screener copy)

Directed by Daniel A Murphy

Written by Tom Komisar

Stars: Emily Rhoads, Bryer Sage, Cassie Boom Guthrie, Linda Schrader, R.J Cecott, Eric Reaume, Dustin Lawson, Chuck Smith, Deb Perkins and Paisley Blackburn.

Night of the Dolls is the new horror film by Daniel Murphy ( Director of the excellent revenge flick And Then YOU Die) a dark journey that manages to be horrifying, creepy, emotional and funny in turn. 

I'm going to be extra careful to avoid anything remotely close to spoilers in this review as this is a film that calls to be viewed with limited knowledge. I will of course touch on the synopsis as much as possible without giving anything away.

An all girl rock group, The Lolita Dolls, are heading to an old Sanitarium with their two male companions to shoot their new music video. Kari (Emily Rhoads), the lead vocalist of the band, has a strong interest in the dark, bloody past of the Sanitarium and thanks to a recommendation from their biggest fan, they have secured exclusive permission to record their video there. Right where a number of horrific events occurred twenty years previous........

While the four feisty girls and their mini entourage of pranksters Lenny (Eric Reaume) and Steve (R.J. Cecott) start to make their  way to their macabre destination, Detective Bailey (Chuck Smith) is doing his own investigation into the gruesome events of the past.

Neither Lolita Dolls and co or the viewer will be able to foresee the terror that will be unleashed by this fateful trip and on this note I must commend writer Tom Komisar for the twisted story he has woven. Its going to keep viewers guessing as I did and I will happily admit that I was wrong on several assumptions.

I wont lie, there are some very disturbing scenes in this film a few of which had me squirming but there is also a great deal of heart at the centre of all the madness. There is a particularly powerful scene towards the end where bloody, wince inducing scenes are broken up by shots of the band having fun. I'm a sucker for characters who I have grown to care for and in these scenes I admit to feeling bloody emotional - the tear in my eye was obviously due to getting smoke in it but well..... As well as this there is a lot of laughs to be had for the first 3/4 of the film. The characters interactions are mostly hilarious, they joke, poke fun at each other and ultimately appear to care and look out for one another. While none of this will help calm the blow of some of the events in the final act, it still makes the characters far more fleshed out and colourful than you might see in other movies, especially those in the horror genre. This is course is helped by some great performances and I have to hold up Emily Rhoads as Kari, Eric Reaume as Lenny and R.J Cecott as stand outs. I also thought Bryer Sage as the softly spoken and slightly shy Chloe to be adorable.

The film has a great professional look and impresses me with what is possible with a smaller budget, its full of interesting camera angles and is shot exceptionally well. If this is the kind of progress that can be made in such a short amount of time from his previous film And Then YOU Die then I can only imagine what's coming next from Daniel!

Oh and I absolutely loved the interpretation of one of my favourite Ramones songs - a nice touch! As I mentioned to Daniel, the songs performed by the Lolita Girls were awesome and music I as a music lover would totally buy.
Check out Night of the Dolls official Facebook page HERE and start getting excited for the moment you get to see it for itself. Its original story, scares and laughs will ensure a very satisfied audience and I can only express again how much it impressed me, made me laugh out loud and had me squirming in my seat!

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