Mark Polonia (Frozen Sasquatch) is back. OK, so he wasn’t gone for very long, these days he’s as prolific a solo filmmaker as he and his late twin brother John were as a team. Here he’s teamed up with another SOV pioneer, Ron Bonk (House Shark) and his company SRS Cinema for Deadly Playthings. How does it stack up with all the other evil doll films?
We start with a prologue set in 1998 with a little girl with a strange doll and the power to see ghosts. The story picks up in the present as a family is negotiating to buy a house whose previous owners have mysteriously vanished. They are not a happy family, daddy’s drinking is responsible for the accident that left daughter Mary in a wheelchair.
While they’re making their decision a would-be burglar breaks in and meets a nasty end as a couple of familiar dolls look on. A doll that reappears after they move in. Doors start closing and locking by themselves. The phone rings with nobody on the other end. And when Duncan tries to sneak some booze, it turns to blood, then vanishes. Bottle, glass and all. And if you’re wondering why I’m not crediting the cast, neither the Deadly Playthings credits nor the IMDB listing says who plays what role. Your guess is as good as mine.
By now anyone who’s more than just a casual horror fan knows that any film with Polonia in the credits is a micro-budget affair. I’ve been watching their films since the early 90s and know they’re an acquired taste. Deadly Playthings is an enjoyable film on that level. I was disappointed with the lack of effects this time out. Even the cheesy effects of the brothers’ early films like Saurians would have been welcome. There are some distorted video effects, but sadly, that’s about it.
Deadly Playthings is a remarkably well-shot film for something that probably had a budget of under $10,000. There’s also some nice sound work. It certainly looks and sounds better than many films with considerably higher budgets.
As I mentioned, this isn’t a film for everyone. It held my attention despite the lack of effects and fairly basic plotting. If you enjoy ultra low budget films done right, you should enjoy Deadly Playthings.