5 out of 10
Director: Andrew Jones (Cabin 28 / The Toymaker / Robert 2 / The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund / Conjuring The Dead / The Haunting At The Rectory / Poltergeist Activity / The Last House on Cemetery Lane / Theatre of Fear / Amityville Asylum)
Cast: Suzie Frances Garton, Lee Bane, Flynn Allen, Samuel Hutchison, Megan Lockhurst, Annie Davies, Ryan Michaels with Cyd Casados and Judith Haley
Writer: Andrew Jones
Based on a true-story, Robert has all but a passing resemblance to anything ‘factual’. The names remain the same and there’s a cursed doll – and that’s all that remains intact. The real Robert and his very real curses lives in a glass box in Florida. This film is set in the modern day in South Wales. Yes, we’re back in Andrew Jones (THEATRE OF FEAR) country! The netherworld where the horror film meets the stylistic ticks of a health & safety video. This time though, they’ve turned some lights off and brewed up some nice chills and spills.
The dependable Lee Bane (CONJURING OF THE DEAD) puts in a solid performance as Mr Otto, a harrassed businessman whose artist/stay at home wife, Mrs Otto (SUZIE FRANCES GARTON – THE HAUNTING AT THE RECTORY) becomes unhinged when her son’s new doll Robert begins to fuck with her head. Left as a present by their former house keeper (JUDITH HALEY – POLTERGEIST ACTIVITY), Robert begins to wreak havoc around the house. Yet the parents think it’s their son Gene (FLYNN ALLEN). As events begin to escalate and babysitters and new cleaners get chased out or murdered, the Otto family pull together to find out more about were the doll came from and how to stop it doing horrible things to people, like bopping them on the head with bog roll holders and loofers.
On the whole, the film is effective where it counts. The doll itself is a wonderful creation and stumps up much of the fear factor all by itself. And for the longest time possible you don’t see Robert up to mischief, so when bowls of sugar are upended in the kitchen and paintings vandalised, it holds a level of ambiguity. Could it really be Gene? Of course it isn’t but the film entertains the notion. The back-story is quite satisfying on this occasion but doesn’t explain why half the cast is populated with Canadians in the depth of South Wales? We never knew South Wales was so metropolitan. There are no ‘duff’ performances in Robert, even the doll isn’t wooden and it could put a lot of low-budget performers to shame.
The outcome is hilarious but still good within the realms of its horror setting, the build up is nice and slow and if I remember correctly, the running time is longer here allowing for a more measured film. Unlike, director Andrew Jones other films, there’s no sprint to conclude things like at the ending , ie SPOILER – the ending of Poltergeist Activity is odd how they runway in car from the the haunted house only to pull over in a layby up the road to escape their torment. SPOILER END.
This is one of Andrew Jones and Lee Bane‘s best films to date and they seem to be improving as they go, with the only blip in ascending quality being the mannered ghost-porno fail The Haunting At The Rectory. So Britpic has high hopes for the Exorcism of Anna Ecklund. it would seem that there’s a bit of gap after that whilst they make their next half a dozen movies. Like we said last time, a genre swap might be good now. Anything but Essex gangsters, though eh?
5 out of 10 – Solid spooky doll movie in the tradition of Annabelle. It’s not amazing but it’s an improvement on just about everything Andrew Jones and his team of talented actors have made so far. Keep up the good work.
Second review below by Matt Usher aka Joe Pesci II
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Suzie Frances Garton: Robert 2, The Haunting At The Rectory
- Lee Bane: The Toymaker, Kamikaze, Kerb Crawlers, Robert 2, The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund, Conjuring The Dead, The Haunting At The Rectory, Poltergeist Activity, The Last House on Cemetery Lane, Theatre of Fear, Amityville Asylum, Night of the Living Dead (2012)
- Megan Lockhurst: Essex Boys – Law of Survival
- Cyd Casados: Eden Lodge
- Judith Haley: The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund, Poltergeist Activity, Amityville Asylum