Movie Review: Evil Little Things

May 12, 2020

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry is the Film Festival Editor for Horror Fuel; all film festival related queries and announcements should be sent to him at [email protected] He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

The latest offering in the killer doll subgenre of fright fare is director Matt Green’s Evil Little Things, a horror anthology consisting of two main tales and a wraparound. The film offers a fair share of amusement, but it falls a bit flat in the technical department, including some editing and sound glitches that are so jarring they had me wondering whether they were errors on the screener that I watched or baffling directorial choices.

Evil Little Things kicks off with a fuming stepfather (Zach Galligan of Gremlins and Waxwork) threatening his stepson Jason (Mason Wells) when the little boy insists there is a monster under his bed at tuck-in time. Jason’s mother (L.A. Winters) takes the young boy doll shopping the next day to make him feel safer at night. A creepy doll maker (Geoff McKnight) spins two fanciful, eerie yarns to the twosome. 

In the first story, mother Jess (Hannah Fierman of Siren and St. Agatha), having recently moved into her late grandmother’s home with her kids (Piper Collins, Drew Youngblood) while her husband is away on a trip, finds a leprechaun doll (voiced by Matt Green) on her porch. Like most dolls in horror films, it doesn’t want to be disposed of easily, and survives being thrown away, stored away, and worse as Jess becomes more desperate. She is a horror author who witnessed a leprechaun sighting when she was a child that she tries to repress, but she must come to face her deeply seated fears if she wants to rid her family of this single-minded doll.

In the second tale, Abby (Courtney Lakin of The Conjuring and Shutter) is a doll collector and cosplayer who has been scarred on one cheek from a fire. Her dolls have charred faces, and one in particular —  Tammy (voiced by Yasmin Bakhtiari) — holds a certain possessive power over Abby. Abby meets former squeeze Jeremy (Jonathan Horne) at a convention — it’s not clear exactly what kind, but a few cosplayers are present — and when the two start showing romantic sparks once again, Tammy is having none of it.

Most longtime fear-fare fanatics can see where these stories are headed, and the wraparound climax that results after Jason brings home a clown doll is even more predictable. Originality in the segments is not Evil Little Thing’s strong suit, nor are the film’s special effects, so thankfully the solid performances of Fierman and Lakin are on display to bolster things. These two engaging actresses are no strangers to the horror genre, and here their considerable talents are the highlights of this indie feature. 

Evil Little Things, from Uncork’d Entertainment, is available from May 12 on DVD and On Demand. 

 

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