Australian dark comedy Dolls involves a man’s unhealthy obsession with his doll collection. It’s a fun short film that also features some heavier moments as it addresses possessiveness and other perilous relationship issues.
A man (Cameron Hurry) and a woman (Caitlin Hill) are in the middle of a heavy makeout session when, after entering his bedroom, the woman discovers his collection of female dolls, which pretty much takes up most of the free space in the room. Disgusted, she makes her feelings known to him and storms out of his home. The dolls then have a heart-to-heart talk with him, suggesting that some time apart may give him a chance at a relationship with a real, flesh and blood woman, and the dolls have dreams of their own, too.
Hurry does a fine job of playing a man whose thinking is obviously far outside the norm. His facial expressions and comic timing are great, and when the proceedings get darker — addressing power and control in both ongoing relationships and breakups — Hurry invests his character with a creepy, menacing feeling. Hill supplies the voices for most of the dolls, and she is super in both her on-screen role and voice acting. Vivienne Abitia and Kyoko Yamada also turn in fine voice performances.
Clare Sladden wrote the screenplay and co-directed with Jasmine Sladden. The dialogue is a blast, with plenty of funny lines and some equally comical asides. The directors frame the shots wonderfully and balance the comedy and suspense impressively. Some of the shots of the dolls are brilliantly set up and played for human-like expressions. Siobhan Domingo’s cinematography is first rate.
Dolls packs in quite a bit of story, character study, humor, and food for thought in its six-minute running time. Currently on its film festival run, it’s a real delight.
Dolls screens at Women in Horror Film Festival, which runs in Atlanta, Georgia, from February 27–29. (4.5 / 5)