More Than Just a… – Doll Graveyard (2005)

Doll Graveyard is a feature film that finds Charles Band doing what he does best and that is to put it simply, playing with dolls. With his Puppet Master series and various other properties that star the diminutive dolls, Band is able to craft horror films that are both creepy and fun of which Doll Graveyard happens to be. It is not all that original, as it features the familiar bully/revenge plotline and of course, a number of killer puppets, but Band does a good job of melding it all together to create a fairly enjoyable movie.

Starring Jared Kusnitz as Guy, a young boy who collects action figures, he finds he is a little bit of a social outcast due to his hobby, especially among the cooler kids and his sister’s friends. There is one girl that shows some interest in him though and by the end of it all, she will become a part of his saving grace though she knows it not. The film finds Guy’s sister throwing a party where a couple of older boys torment him after which, the Samurai doll he found buried in his yard comes to life to protect its new master. Digging up its companions, the puppets then set about their mission of revenge and those that wronged Guy are in for a world of hurt.

Much like the rest of Band’s Full Moon output, the creature effects are good, the puppets being brought to life effectively enough to create a very eerie atmosphere. Aside from the first two and the last couple of Puppet Master films, Doll Graveyard manages to feature a straightforward story that not only makes sense, but is free of being bogged down by any unnecessary elements. There is a bit of backstory to the dolls involving a little girl who had an abusive father, one who accidentally killed her and that does come into play during the final act, but it only adds to the horror and enriches the story, making it a two-fold tale of revenge.

Unlike many of the films that Band would end up working on, this picture would generate no sequels, though an indirect feature called Ooga Booga would be released many years later. Altogether, Doll Graveyard is not essential viewing, but it is a nice bit of fluff to kill just over an hour or so with.

3 out of 5

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