Starring: Jessica Morris, Meredith McClain, Deb Snyder
Also known as: Dangerous Chucky Dolls (UK DVD)
“Worry dolls. You gotta be fuckin’ kidding me.” (Alexis, Dangerous Worry Dolls)
Full Moon Features are known for their incredibly low-budget horror movies and, as spoofed in Gingerdead Man 2, many of these involve dolls. The likes of Puppet Master and Demonic Toys were very successful for Full Moon, so it’s no surprise that they’d want to continue trying their hand at something similar. Despite its name, Dangerous Worry Dolls isn’t really that sort of film. At least, not at first.
It’s set in a young women’s reform institute (essentially a very low-security prison), where Eva (Jessica Morris) has been sent for killing someone. Eva just wants to serve her sentence without any hassle so she can get out quick and be with her young daughter again, but she”s getting hassle from Killa Kim, a drug smuggler who wants her to be her mule. Even worse, the militant cow who runs the institute isn’t listening to Eva’s complaints because she “knows her type” and doesn’t think she’s capable of turning over a new leaf.
Eva’s luck changes when her daughter comes to visit and gives her some worry dolls, tiny little voodoo-like skeleton dolls who come in a dinky coffin-shaped box. Her daughter explains that if she puts the worry dolls under her pillow as she sleeps, all her worries will go away. After being sexually assaulted by one of the guards (off-camera, thankfully), Eva reaches the end of her tether and lays the worry dolls under her pillow, hoping they’ll help. As she sleeps they come alive and crawl inside her ear, and that’s where it starts getting a bit odd.
The worry dolls give Eva renewed confidence, so she starts dishing out kickings and the odd murder to the other girls and staff in the facility. She also grows a spot in the middle of her forehead, a spot that continues to grow until eventually a tiny skull comes out of her forehead, squealing like a pig. Incredibly, thanks to the poor acting on display, hardly any of her fellow inmates pay any attention to this screaming forehead-skull, seemingly unimpressed by it and completely undermining the impact of the film.
Perhaps the most shocking thing about Dangerous Worry Dolls is that its sole great performance is the lead role, played by Jessica Morris, an actress I once described as “consistently wooden” in my review of the shitefest that was Scream Bloody Murder. She’s greatly improved in the years since that abomination, and she delivers her lines just right. It’s just a shame that, this time around, it’s the rest of the cast letting her down.
Dangerous Worry Dolls is dull. Its deaths mainly happen off-screen, its characters (with the exception of the lead) are more or less universally hateable, the “twist” scene involving one of the guards is just a complete cringe for all involved and the titular dolls are about as terrifying as dropping 5p. Despite its dramatic title, this is one film you really shouldn’t worry about.