The Devil’s Dolls (Blu-ray Review)

Devil's-DollsIFC Midnight and Scream Factory continue their hellish bond in bringing some of the best and unwatched in the indie horror scene to Blu-ray with The Devil’s Dolls.  This is the second feature film from director Padraig Reynolds, following his other horror/thriller The Rites of Spring (Which, I’ve not seen, but has a really cool throwback retro poster).  The disc isn’t just a bare bones one like some of these can be, it does come with a nice little grouping of bonus features (Including a commentary).  It can be yours to own, or maybe to rent or borrow from that friend who snatches these up, on December 6th.


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According to an ancient Guatemalan tradition, parents teach their children to allay their troubles by giving them handmade “worry dolls” just before bedtime. But when several of these talismans — which once belonged to a notorious mass murderer — find their way into the hands of unsuspecting residents of a small Southern town, it sets off a grisly wave of bloodshed.

The Devil’s Dolls has the right intention on what it wants to be, but ultimately has a hard time feature length telling the story and keeping it interesting.  Its a police procedure in nature but takes quite some time to proceed through said proceedings.  I know this one likely has quite the financial limitations, but it feels repetitious and short scenes tend to feel like they are going longer than they are.

Padraig Reynolds’ film features itself a decent little cast.  Most of them sit and chew scenery because, well, that’s what seems to be thing there.  Oh, and they cast Brea Grant (and wasted her, if you ask me) who I’m a fan of and don’t get to see much in things, so thank you.  Its couple with some pretty good horror locations, but many can look the same so the overall feel of the film can get monotonous from that cinematographical ending.

These voodoo dolls aren’t really too effective.  The Devil’s Dolls carries a solid opening and a decent premise, but never fully capitalizes on it.  However, there are some WTF moments and plenty of scenes that will ooze with gushing blood (Though the same kill gets used more than once and they blatantly homage Cropsy once).  If there’s some interest from you in this movie, I’d definitely say rent first even though its SUPER cheap right now.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: This film carries the same sort of look and feel as many of these other IFC Midnight movies do.  That said, the image is fill with plenty of detail and an overall crisp, sharp image.  There are a lot of white rooms in this movie (Not by intention, just the space they are filming) and the image manages to grab texture and pattern off of them whether they be a matte or glossier finish.

Depth:  Some good dimensional work here.  A nice separation of character/object and background is present.  Characters move smoothly with a confidently moving picture.  Background detail comes through very solid.

Black Levels:  Blacks are rich and deep.  Things do get very nighttime and very dark at times in the film.  Though, some do come through quite beautifully, with details still lurking.  No crushing was witnessed during my viewing of the film for this review.

Color Reproduction: Colors are sound, but rather sort of toned down to a more lifelike appearance.  There is a part where Chloie’s little purse is shown and the green and pink really jump out compared to what’s already been in the movie before.  There is a really great moment with a guy running on fire late in the film that really gets the colors bursting.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are mostly natural with a hair leaning warmer with a consistent appearance for the duration of the film.  Stubble, sweaty faces, wrinkles, freckles and more are clear as day on this image from medium and close-up shots.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Dynamics:  The Devil’s Dolls features a solid 5.1 mix.  A lot of stuff is going on in the front, but its able to surround enough to be a full on experience.  Effects are woven in very well, being layered and distinct.  The volume the foley stuff mixed in quite well and feels both accurate and lifelike.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension:  The subwoofer gets in on things with deep hits in the music as well as engine hums, shattering glass and doors slamming shut.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Front speakers carrying most of this thing.  Placement and traveling of sound left to right and front to back is pretty accurate.  Rear channels are mainly there for ambiance as well as some moments in the score.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is set to a perfect volume and place in the mix.  Vocals are clean and crisp.

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The Devil’s Dolls comes with a reversible cover featuring alternate poster art.

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Padraig Reynolds and Actor Christopher Wiehl


  • The Woods (HD, 2:09) 
  • Buddy (HD, 2:04) 
  • Where’s Chloe? (HD, 1:34) 

Worry Dolls (HD, 1:04) – Art for all the little dolls in the movie.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:42) 

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The Devil’s Dolls has a slightly interesting premise with some decent ideas and effects.  Ultimately, it just sorta drags along.  Scream Factory’s Blu-ray has a great picture with above average audio to go along with some very light extras to accompany.  If you need to see this one badly, just rent it first before owning it (Even though it is crazy cheap on Amazon right now.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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