THE DOLL (2016), THE DOLL 2 (2017) AND SABRINA (2018): A TRIPLE REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. © DIRECTED BY ROCKY SORAYA AND STARRING LUNA MAYA AND SARA WIJAYANTO. I was thrilled to bits to find these three Indonesian horror films on Netflix recently. Well, to tell you the truth, I’d scrolled past them a few times thinking, yeah, yeah, a scary doll, oooooh, I’m so scared…! And that’s sarcasm, by the way. But then one night late last week, I decided to give ‘em a chance and watched one a night for three nights, and I loved them. At nearly two hours long each, they’re terrific value for money, and, the best thing of all, they’re like the Indonesian version of the ANNABELLE and CONJURING films! Which I adore, by the way, so coming across these three little gems felt like Christmas Mark 2. In each film, a haunted doll plays havoc with the lives of a well-to-do, attractive young Indonesian couple on the up-and-up. They live in the most magnificent modern houses that seem much bigger on the inside than they look from the outside, with all the endless passages and hidden rooms, etc. Plus, up-and-coming they might be, but how can such young couples afford such fabulous mansions…? The husbands are young and fit, usually working in finance or construction, and the wives are young and beautiful with lovely long hair and have nothing to do while their husbands are off out, bringing home the bacon. They have too much time on their hands, which is why sooner or later they’re bitching at their husbands about haunted dollies. In the first first film, the haunted doll of a murdered child causes chaos in the life of the young couple, who might not have acquired their dream lifestyle quite by honest means. The doll was found up a haunted tree, by the way, and it’s not good karma to do a whizz up agin it, lol. Not illegal, mind you, but just not good karma. The exceptionally dopey wife, egged on by another bored housewife across the street (give these women something to do, for Gawd’s sake!!!), stupidly welcomes a DON’T LOOK NOW-style ghost into her home, mistaking it for a child that needs shelter, and then runs around like a headless chicken for the rest of the movie trying to shake it off. In THE DOLL 2, possibly my favourite of the three films, the stunningly beautiful Luna Maya plays Maira, whose daughter Kayla dies in a horrible car crash, but later returns- in ghost form, natch- through the medium of a haunted doll. The doll, Sabrina, was Kayla’s own in life, and so ugly and frightening it should come with a health warning. The ‘doll’ in the first film was cute and mischievous-looking. Sabrina is a proper horror. And it keeps moving around the place, seemingly without recourse to human agency. Talk about Elf on the Shelf gone bad. Luna Maya is brilliant as Maira, the grieving mother who is convinced her dead child has come back to her. I was more than happy to see her reprising her role in the third movie, this time with a new hubby in tow, the owner of a famous toy factory, and a new child, though not her own. Her husband is playing guardian to his orphaned niece, but how was she orphaned, o-ho…? That’s a question for nearer the end of the film… Little Vanya, the niece, not unnaturally misses her mom, who is easily summoned back from the dead by means of a sort of Ouija board game. Summoning folks is easy-peasy. It’s getting rid of them, that’s the hard part. You’ll know the trouble with inviting the dead into your life, of course, if you’ve watched all the same movies I have. Sometimes, if that door is left open a mite too long, something else can slip unnoticed into the world of the living, and then they’re harder to get shut of than herpes. Maira is terrorised on a harmless family trip to the beach by something from another dimension that wishes terrible harm on her. Who’s she gonna call? Why, the Indonesian version of Ed and Lorraine Warren, of course! Miss Laras, the beautiful and elegant Ghost-Buster lady, features in all three films, each time with different blokes who might be a husband, a brother, or just a work colleague, I’m not really sure. There are plenty of loopholes, not to mention whopping great plotholes, in all three films, but I didn’t care because the movies are such great fun. They’re incredibly violent as well, just to let you know. Every second cast member is walking around possessed and equipped with a big knife for stabbing. And, if you’re a director who’s budgeted for a certain amount of knives for your film, you sure as hell ain’t gonna wanna waste them. What’s strange about these knives, however, is that a load of people are stabbed with them, then they get up and seem perfectly fine again just a few minutes later. ‘I’ve been stabbed? Ah shure, that’s nothing! I’m grand again, anyway.’ Maybe they’re trick knives, lol. And I love the way the characters in this universe don’t seem to have to endure any tiresome legal repercussions for their actions, in particular the numerous stabbings. The cops are rarely called and, if they are, you can always put ‘em off by saying things like, ‘Don’t worry, Officer, we’ve got this,’ or ‘Shure, youse can go on home, it’s a bit dangerous for you lot here,’ and then they just bugger off as meek as lambs. Makes me wonder what we pay our own police force here for, when we could just be dealing with crimes ourselves like the guys in these three films. Anyway, I relished every stabby minute of this excellent trilogy (It could also have been named ‘RICH MARRIED LADIES WHO DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TO DO START IMAGINING SHIT AND THIS LEADS TO ALL KINDS OF EVEN MADDER SHIT AND STUFF’) and I encourage you guys to watch it too. It’s great escapism for the auld COVID times. And that, as we all very well know, is nothing to be sneezed at…
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:
The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books: