The Doll Master

Director:  Jeong Yong-ki
Year: 2004
Rating: 7.0

Country: Korea

Other than the fact that the premise of the film is totally absurd from beginning to end, confusing and barely makes sense, this was a well made film. Great visuals, lots of gore, creative deaths, a shade of tension and a few creepy moments. My ragamuffin doll Randolph who I have had since childhood watched this film with me - hard to get him to most of the time - bored with old black and white films - agreed with me that it was a bit exaggerated. But he reminded me that it was true that abandoned dolls will take revenge on their owners - or make that partners - sorry Randolph. That is why though ragged around the edges and missing an arm and his right eye, Randolph is still with me. I am never going to throw you out Randolph. Back in 2004 when Asian horror was at the top of the hill, they had to come up with new ideas all the time. Some better than others. Few sillier than this, but the director Jeong Yong-Ki (Marrying the Mafia 2 & 3) plays it completely seriously without a hint of tongue in cheek. I appreciate that. Commit yourself to your own script.

As a warning this has a lot of screaming, terrified faces and running around in panic. And there is of course the guy chained up in the basement. Four young people are invited to a palatial home out in the woods for a working session on dolls. One is a photographer and three women are there to be photographed for doll faces to be based on them. And a stranger shows up who says he is a model. The Doll Master is a grim woman in black in a wheelchair who must pick wings off flies in her spare time. Dolls are everywhere. Some of them life sized and terrifying. One look at one of those dolls in my bedroom and I would have been out the front door on my way home. Instead they stay. Bad idea. Mina is a cute big eyed girl who Hae-mi (Kim Yu-me) keeps seeing on the grounds but no one else does. The little girl keeps asking her, don't you remember me. Dolls begin to move. And kill.

Again, nutty idea. But I enjoyed this. It could have been a Freddie Kruger. Instead its dolls. Is one really less believable than the other? Once it gets going, introduces the players it is basically off and running. And bleeding. In terms of acting, their screams were topnotch. Randolph says goodnight. Treat your dolls with respect. They may have souls. Battered ones.