[Movie Review] The Doll (2016) ★★★☆☆

Ghawiah in The Doll 2016

The Doll unleashes gory terror in a surprising finale.

The Doll is an Indonesian supernatural horror movie about a creepy doll with a gruesome past. While the creepy doll trope is already a very familiar one, this film adds more familiarity by copying The Conjuring (2013) and Annabelle (2014). But although this might seem like a rip-off the first part of the film, it really will surprise you with an ending that is very vicious and provides the film with its own voice and story. It has in the end some very bleak and gruesome themes, which leads to brutal violence, but the overall film is based on a creepy paranormal atmosphere. It’s an overall entertaining film with an ending that makes this film well worth a watch. 

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Daniel and Anya are happy together. She makes dolls and he works for a contractor. When he returns home late one night, he tells her has gotten a promotion so they can live in the city in a big house. After they have moved to a beautiful new home, Anya meets her neighbor Niken and her five year-old daughter and they become friends. Daniel has to work more often to work at the construction site as a supervisor. When a tree has to be cut down the workers refuse. A doll lives in that tree. A doll who belonged to a little girl who was murdered with her family not so long ago during a robbery. They are afraid when they cut down the tree, the doll is going to haunt them. This haunting already has happened to others. Daniel orders to cut down the tree, but soon strange things start to happen when Daniel discovers that the doll secretly found her way to his home where Anya took her in. Niken warns Anya that the doll is haunted and that their lives are in danger.

Why you should watch it

The Doll might not be the best horror doll movie out there. The special effects aren’t that good and the story and acting often feels too bland or too dramatic. But the ending, that has a great gory and brutal climax and on top of that a big twist, which makes this film well worth a watch. The film starts out a bit messy. First we see three teenagers driving home when the youngest brother needs to pee. He releases himself at the tree where he sees the doll hanging in one of the branches. Then the doll has followed them home. After a few creepy incidents they call in the help of a medium Laras and her husband. Then that sequence ends. 

It very much reminds of the start of The Conjuring with the story the two nurses telling Ed and Lorraine Warren about Annabelle. She even writes down with red crayon that she wants to play hide and seek and that they have to find her. And this doll is called Ghawiah named by the little girl Uci who owned her and this means in Arabic ‘one who is evil and follows its desires.’ So that doesn’t predict anything good. But after that start which seems confusing because we don’t know what happened to that doll after Laras came to visit the siblings up to the point when Daniel finds it at the construction site at the same tree. But that will all be explained in time. Just like the nightmares Daniel has about his childhood. 

After Ghawiah has found herself a new home on one of the shelves between Anya’s other dolls, creepy things start to happen. They hear strange noises and Niken warns Anya about that doll even calling in the help of a clergy man. But the doll is relentless. It all seems like very familiar hauntings, with the usual creepy doll tropes. We don’t see her move, but occasionally we do see the ghost of Uci whose face is all blacked and with glowing piercing eyes. Still these haunting remind of The Conjuring with the hide and seek games that both Chilla and Uci play with a little bell instead of clapping their hands. 

It takes a while to get to the truth about the hauntings, which isn’t merely the ghost of a little girl who has sold her soul to the devil and can’t find peace. But there’s more to the story that has to do with Daniel’s childhood and why Laras’ husband is not in the picture anymore. The ending weaves all those seemingly loose plot lines together in an engrossing tale that is very gruesome. The big finale certainly matches the gruesome idea. While the most part of the film is about the creepy atmosphere and the creepy doll, the final part goes all out in gore and bloody mayhem and some brutal violence that, especially after a slower buildup, feels very sudden but impressive. Also the background story is a nasty tale of human horror and puts everything in a totally different perspective. 

The Doll might start off as a rip-off of Annabelle and The Conjuring it later on turns into a gruesome haunting tale with its own voice and story. This film proves that sometimes you have to stick with a movie right until the end because it may surprise you.

My favorite part

The ending really did surprise me. I thought the overall film was okay especially when you like paranormal horror movies with a creepy doll in it, but it wasn’t that impressive. Until the end that is. The end turned the whole film upside down. Not necessarily with a shocking twist, but with brutal gory violence that you didn’t see coming. The stairs scene while Anya is watching is so devastating and pure horror that was filmed in a very impressive way, what we haven’t seen during the film thus far. The end levels up big time and makes this film a great horror watch.


Rating: ★★★☆☆

Gore factor: ★★★☆☆

Scare factor: ★★☆☆☆

Gruesome factor: ★★★★☆

Entertainment factor: ★★★★☆

Cast and crew 

The Doll is directed and written by Rocky Soraya and cowritten by Riheam Junianti. It stars Shandy Aulia (Anya), Denny Sumargo (Daniel), Sara Wijayanto (Laras) and Vitta Mariana Barrazza (Niken).

Duration: 107 minutes. Music: Profound Music. Cinematography: Asep Kalila. Edited by: Kelvin Nugroho, Sastha Sunu. Produced by: Raam Soraya, Rocky Soraya. Production compagnies: Hitmaker Studios.

Check the trailer below

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