Let’s be careful of these sharp edges.
Craig Zahler penned this one (he directed Bone Tomahawk and other films that I have liked). Zahlar likes to push buttons, which is fine, but he does so in more interesting ways in his other films. This one feels like a lazy first draft where we have a bunch of Nazi puppets exterminating people who are considered unworthy. I guess we’re supposed to see some humor in two lesbians being decapitated for being lesbians.
I’m fine with films that push buttons (you may find evidence of this all over this blog). However, this one seems to be too shallow to really have anything that interesting to say. Yet, the greatest sin is that the movie is just boring. I think they forgot to give us any characters we are invested in. What we end up with is a sloppy mess of stereotypes being killed for being stereotypes.
An example of crappy characters is how a father can be a prick to his son, son says don’t be a prick, dad softens. The realism and texture of characters in Zahler’s other stuff would do this slowly and over the course of several scenes to add a little depth. Here, let’s just have the troubled son cliché who finds the spooky object (a puppet) and sells it cliché. However, coupling with the other issue, it takes ages for anything to happen. Slow-burns can work well, but this is a gonzo B-movie, not a thoughtful horror-drama. I think this film had a bit of an identity crisis.
There is a flatness to the characters presentation that just simply sucks. We have asshole characters being lazy assholes. Our two male leads (I don’t care enough about them to bother listing their names) aren’t likable characters, which is fine, but they also aren’t interesting. Oh, one is a soft-spoken wuss and the other gets off on being a prick (including sexually harassing people). I know you’re probably getting tired of me saying the same thing over and over in this review, but the film hasn’t given me anything else to talk about. We have a couple fake-out jumpscares, but after our opening hate kill, we get nothing for quite a while. I swear they filmed the museum tour in real time.
I’m sure some will dismiss this movie thinking I was offended and couldn’t handle it (or something). I wish this movie had offended me—at least that would have been interesting! The actual doll murders are amusing, but they take way too long to arrive. The film will wake you up when the killing starts, but then it will get back to boring characters mumbling around for a while. As for offensiveness, this reminds me of junior highschool kids who have just discovered death metal and horror films and now want everyone to see how edgy they are.
Let us all bask in the edginess of shit jokes and treating women like garbage.
The last act of the film is ridiculous enough to at least hold interest. I don’t think it is worth the painful experience that is the first two thirds though.
The film is never interesting, funny, nor scary. I honestly see nothing worth watching here. Even fans of this sort of edgy-comedy-horror will find a lot better out there. We might have a collection of the worst characters in a larger budget horror film in the last few years. Everyone is stupid, boring, flat, or completely one-dimensional. This experience is about as enjoyable as food poisoning.