Sometimes I like to know as little about as film as possible before I watch and review it. That was the case with 13 Dolls In Darkness. I had only seen the title and a couple of posters, so I really didn’t know what to expect when I agreed to check it out. 13 Dolls In Darkness is a very unique film, to say the least. Check out the trailer below then read on for my thoughts.
13 Dolls In Darkness is the debut film from writer/director Zeda Muller. The film stars Hanika Nankervis, Monique Boyd, Alysha Casey and Darcie Reid.
A young woman returns home after 13 years to her sick mother’s crumbling hillside mansion and finds murder and swift death lurking in the dark.
13 Dolls In Darkness is an interesting film in several ways. It’s black and white and completely lacking in spoken dialogue, instead using dialogue tiles like an old school silent film. The story takes elements from Gothic horror as well as giallos, with most of the kills taking place either in the old, dark house or the surrounding woods, and a good chunk of them being shot from the perspective of the masked killer. The kills, even though in black and white, have a brutal intensity and some of them are pretty bloody. There is even some minor sex and nudity, which all works together to make a nice contrast with the silent film look that the film has.
One of the deaths caught me completely off guard and left me not knowing exactly what to expect from that point on. The music is nice and moody, which works well with the look of the film and helps to build tension. The ending is pretty bleak and depressing but it fits well. The film was shot for a mere 250AUD, roughly $189 US but I honestly couldn’t tell. Its obvious that a lot of time and effort went into making this film look and feel a certain way and I was highly impressed with the film overall. The one very minor complaint I have is that a lot of the scenes with light tend to be extremely bright or have a strobe effect to them. It was distracting and made it hard to see what exactly was going on at some points.
13 Dolls In Darkness is a film that takes influences from various time periods and subgenres of horror and melds them together to make something that feels fresh and original. I’m amazed at what writer/director Zeda Muller was able to do on such a low budget. Just goes to show what you can achieve when your passion exceeds your budget but you find a way to make it work. 13 Dolls In Darkness is a uniquely beautiful and lovingly crafted low budget gem that I highly recommend to horror fans who want to see something different.