The one positive to take away from the film is that considering that it’s a small budget production, it manages to get a decent cast together. In the world of mega low-budget films where it’s usually necessary for filmmakers to use their friends with little to no experience in acting, it can be a make or break. Fortunately, the actors did a good job in the film for what it was (even managing to bag Dee Wallace as Margaret, the obligatory crazy lady who warns of the horrors to come). Even Thompson did a decent job, and she doesn’t have any acting credits previous to this. However, it’s the writing of the film that lets it down. The pace is far too slow, leaving you waiting for the next scary thing or just anything to happen (and not in a way that builds tension). It’s difficult to find things to say about the film because so little seems to happen beyond the dolls not being where Sammey last left them. It’s understandable that perhaps due to budget constrictions it wasn’t possible to show the dolls doing too much (I wasn’t exactly going in expecting ‘Child’s Play’ level puppetry), but even having them play more mind games would have made them seem more threatening. They do look rather disturbing, however, so it gets a few extra points for that.
Overall, I enjoyed the actors in the film and although Dee Wallace wasn’t a huge part of it, her appearances do make the scenes she’s in more effective. The design of the dolls was also good, and they do manage to look quite creepy. Unfortunately, it’s dragged down by the story and horror being too empty which makes it feel longer than it actually is. The pacing is a big issue at the start of the film, as it takes too long to get to the action but also doesn’t use this time to effectively build any tension. Although simplistic films aren’t always a bad thing, it’s a big problem for ‘Dolls’.