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'The Devil's Dolls' isn't horrible enough to be fun

'The Devil's Dolls' isn't horrible enough to be fun
Ashlynn Ross in the movie "The Devil's Dolls." (IFC Midnight)

The horror flick "The Devil's Dolls" might aspire to B-movie status, but this demonic doll film is strictly C-list. Director Padraig Reynolds and writers Christopher Wiehl and Danny Kolker bring all the hallmarks of a midnight slasher to this project — young women in bloodied undergarments, vaguely religious imagery, whirring power tools — in such a way that it initially seems like a parody of the genre.

The plot follows a set of Guatemalan worry dolls that transfer from a serial killer (Matty Ferraro) — the one targeting the aforementioned young women — to the cop (Wiehl) who pursues him, and then inadvertently into the possession of the cop's young daughter (Kennedy Brice). The dolls turn anyone who possesses them into homicidal murder zombies, which is why it's really a problem when the young girl turns them into charms to sell at a local store.

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"The Devil's Dolls" is a pastiche of derivative nonsense that only reminds you of the better films ("The Shining," "The Exorcist") that it seeks to copy. The acting and special effects are terrible, but unfortunately not terrible enough to be a true camp classic. It's just a listless, routine exercise in religious horror, infused with a whiff of the exotic that tends toward the xenophobic. There might be a shred of entertainment to be found if only it were worse.

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'The Devil's Dolls'

Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Not rated

Playing: Arena Cinemas, Hollywood

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