The collaboration between Stuart Gordon and Charles Band produced such memorable films as RE-ANIMATOR, FROM BEYOND, and minor gems like this mean little killer doll film under Empire Pictures' production. It finds a small family arriving at a mysterious mansion that is home to a strange old couple and their house full of dolls after a storm leaves them stranded in the woods. They, along with another car full of strangers, fall under attack by the miniature terrors as the night wares on. Gordon brings the same lavish cinematic style and fluid camerawork that he instills in each of his pictures, creating an excellent visual storytelling. Though the scares are softer since the film is geared largely towards a younger audience, the dolls are nevertheless terrifying and the deaths are surprisingly bloody. The use of high and low angled perspectives along with the flashing lightning each work to enhance the mood, but it is the sinister faces of the dolls, their contorted expressions, and the off-setting stop-motion FX which animate them into frightening reality. Guy Rolfe and Hilary Mason are both highly entertaining in their eccentric roles as the dolls' elderly caretakers, while young Carrie Loraine is sweet and endearing as the whimsical Judy. While the plot and characters are each extremely basic, DOLLS ranks highly based on Stuart Gordon's superior production and the film's lasting scares, making it one of the more enjoyable killer doll features.
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