Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Alli Kinzel, Michael Citrini, Lane Compton, Selene Luna, Elizabeth Bell, Leslie Jordan
Written and directed by William Butler
Although a step up from the sixty-minute clip show that was Dollman vs. Demonic Toys and the utterly deplorable Sci-Fi Channel produced Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys, Demonic Toys 2 still does not have a whole lot of thrills, chills, kills, or wit going for it. The 1992 original was written by a then fledgling screenwriter named David Goyer. I’m afraid William Butler (Furnace) is no David Goyer. Though Butler could be another Charles Band. This fourteen-years-in-the-making sequel follows the vintage Charles Band formula: an attractive yet fairly generic young female lead, a series of oddball supporting actors including a little person, an Italian castle setting, lots of hall wandering, at least one major scene where the cast is seated around an old table, a schizophrenic horror comedy tone, and, of course, killer puppets on the loose.
Sorry, toys, not puppets. Only two of the original Demonic Toys are back. If you were a fan of the teddy bear and the sparking robot you are going to be greatly disappointed. The foul-mouthed baby doll (now all stitched up ala Seed of Chucky) and the clown-headed jack-in-the-box are the only returning favorites. A new toy, a rather sinister looking devil doll named Divoletto, billed as the oldest toy in existence, is introduced into the mix. A shame it doesn’t have more to do. A shame it wasn’t featured in a better movie. The Divoletto doll’s moldy old European devil design is actually quite creepy and could have been the source for real nightmares had it been used in a real horror movie.
I think a problem with these three is that with the Puppet Master dolls there really is more of a variety to them. These Demonic Toys are just too similar. The jack-in-the-box cackles maniacally. The baby doll cackles maniacally and tosses out random expletives that we are supposed to find automatically humorous simply because they’re being spoken by a stitched-up baby doll in a high-pitched voice. Divoletto is just sort of there serving as a hanger on – sometimes literally. Not much differentiation even in the methodology by which they kill. I’ve always regarded the Demonic Toys as just second-rate Puppet Master knock-offs and nothing I saw here changed my stance.
The Divoletto doll has been discovered in the floors of an old castle on the outskirts of Rome. Word of its discovery has attracted a small group of collectors seeking to gain possession of it. Leading the way is the disfigured evil toy collector Dr. Lorca, his philandering wife, her young lover, a psychic dwarf, and veteran character actor Leslie Jordan as a meek Southern collector getting more than he bargained for. These kooky characters pale in comparison to those in Charles Band’s previous killer puppet flick, Skull Heads, a more enjoyable flick than this.
Romance is also in the air between the pretty young scholar who discovered the doll and the young handsome…zzzzzzzzzz. Sorry. Dozed off for a second there just thinking back on it. Their romance is carbon monoxide sucking the oxygen out of the rest of the movie and this is already a movie that is periodically gasping for air.
Divoletto comes to life. Baby Oopsy Daisy and Jack Attack also get resurrected. Supernatural shenanigans abound. People die. The usual.
Demonic Toys 2 does mark what must be the start of a new era in Full Moon cinema – the most use of computer effects I have ever seen in a Charles Band production. The few scenes of the full-bodied toys on the move are done with digital effects and most of what little gore there is was achieved using cheap cgi. At once a step forward in terms of filmmaking and at the same time I can’t help but feel also a bit of a step backwards since a lot of Full Moon’s charm has been the low-tech nature of their old fashioned special effects work.
While I find myself neither enjoying nor hating the return of the Demonic Toys, it was the film’s irritating, repetitive score that soured me more than anything else. The problem isn’t the music itself. The whimsical score is perfectly fine. I wouldn’t have an issue with the music at all if it wasn’t used non-stop in just about every damn scene. Barely a scene goes by that is not set to the same intrusive musical notes. A film score is supposed to enhance what is going on in a scene, not detract from it.
1 1/2 out of 5
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