Let’s watch a movie about a haunted doll.
The scariest part of this film was me forgetting to turn my headphones down before hitting play. Holy crap that was loud.
Sabrina is a new Indonesian horror film that jumps onto the haunted doll bandwagon. This one is a bit different from the others in that it is worse than most (despite them all being fairly bad), and the doll is completely absurd looking. One thing I hated about the Annabelle films was that the doll looks like someone tried to make a creepy doll—same thing here, but somehow worse?
We follow a young girl named Vanya, who has been adopted by her aunt and uncle following her parents’ deaths. Her uncle, Aiden, is a doll-maker who makes the Sabrina doll for his wife (because she likes really dumb looking dolls, I guess). Anyway, a grief-stricken Vanya begins playing with the world’s laziest Ouija Board knockoff (might actually be worth watching these scenes) to communicate with her dead mother. Can you guess what begins to happen? I bet you can.
Anyway, the now obviously haunted doll is haunted. The family must come together and find out what is going on and blah blah blah, blah blah, blah.
I don’t mind these genre-pieces because they are usually at least fun. Some creepy moments and a couple cheap jump scares with likable enough characters is a fine way to waste an afternoon. Here, we just don’t get much of anything to latch onto.
The film does a lousy job setting everything up, and I had a hard time figuring out who and what these characters were and how they connected to each other. Further, we get probably the laziest level of story-telling with the haunting. I get that haunted dolls are pretty lame anyway, but this one just crams in a bunch of ham-fisted melodrama and hopes we don’t notice how flimsy the script is.
Aside from narrative weakness, the film also has some weird dialogue. Everyone just pronounces things, but does so vaguely, which is a mix I haven’t seen. It is different than just “I am scared” (though we do get that type of telling here), but more often it is super vague “I used all my tools”—tools for what?! The film actively chooses to not explain anything to us. We get these scenes of supposed intrigue, but it does a poor job circling back to these moments, and instead we get a deadpan kid walking around the host with a ghost detecting app on her IPad, which is stupid.
Everything seems to bizarrely framed through an ultra-polished lens that it looks like a soap opera at several points. We also have an incredibly intrusive camera that jerks, turns, goes through doors, and turns upside down. These tricks are neither scary nor interesting, and they just distract from the film.
Granted, the blatant theft of ideas from Annabelle and Conjuring will distract you, too. We have these American films now with an Indonesian paint job, and that is about all that this movie has going for it. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if this film was trying to be funny or serious at several moments. Perhaps worse is that I am not sure if the creators knew what they were going for in this regard. This might have worked a bit better as a spoof. It certainly doesn’t work at all right now.