And yet another killer doll movie comes our way. Devil’s Junction: Handy Dandy’s Revenge actually boasts a small army of mobile ventriloquist dummies. All of them appropriately sadistic and full of one-liners of course. What is original however is the villain pulling their strings, an evil Masonic wizard. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Masonic black magician in a film before. Or any Masonic wizard for that matter. Not that it really helps the film much.
Steffan (Jake Red) has a wealthy dad who’s just bought an abandoned TV studio, the former home of WOMB, (seriously). It’s been abandoned for decades after a string of child killings and the suicide of Mr. Jolly (Bill Oberst Jr., Hunting Grounds, Lifechanger) who was the host and puppet master for “Mister Jolly and the Handy Dandy Show”. Steffan has the idea of turning it into an after-hours club and sneaks his buddies in to sell them on investing in it.
So we get the usual stereotypes, Josie (KateLynn E. Newberry, Lake Fear 3, The Curse of Lilith Ratchet), the lesbian, Rosie (Kyle Anderson), the black jock on his way to the NFL, the hot nerd Doc (Danni Spring), Rick (Arthur Marroquin) the rich womanizer and his latest bimbo Abby (Cody Renee Cameron, Girls, Guns And Blood) wandering around the abandoned building that isn’t so abandoned. The dolls come out to play and, as the kids get picked off one by one, we find out the Steffan’s Dad (Bill Moseley, Shed Of The Dead, Minutes To Midnight) is involved in all the Masonic mumbo jumbo as well.
And the seemingly random footage of the big guy with the sledgehammer? That gets explained in a mid-credits scene.
Director Jeff Broadstreet hides behind the screen name Roy G. Biv here. When the director of Night Of The Living Dead 3D is too embarrassed to put his name on a film that’s not a good omen. Devil’s Junction: Handy Dandy’s Revenge does at least try to be an entertaining film. There are some fairly good practical gore effects and some enjoyable nudity courtesy of Ms. Cameron. And the dolls are quite mobile for a change.
But the script just doesn’t capitalize on the elements. The whole subplot involving Masonic relics and rituals is silly. And Oberst’s wizard costume looks like a reject for an Asylum superhero film. It also wastes time building up subplots that are never used, such as the issues between Doc and Rick after he ghosted her following a one-nighter.
Devil’s Junction: Handy Dandy’s Revenge does have a few effective scares and some cringe-inducing moments. Chief among those are the dolls apparently trying to re-enact their favorite scenes from Hostel on one of their victims. And the film’s theme song is an acceptable Breaking Benjamin sound-alike tune. But there’s way too much of the kids stumbling around in the dark. And more than enough goofy sounding mystic dialogue between Oberst and Moseley. Add in a last-minute twist that’s more silly than sinister and there you have it.
Midnight Releasing will premiere Devil’s Junction: Handy Dandy’s Revenge In L.A theaters 10/18 and 10/19, with an On-Demand and DVD release set for 11/5. You can check the film’s website and Facebook page for more specifics.