7 June 2018 | TheLittleSongbird
One book that never properly comes to life
Saw 'The Toymaker', being fond of horror/thriller regardless of budget (even if not my favourite genre) and being intrigued somewhat by the idea. Being behind on my film watching and reviewing, with a long to watch and review list that keeps getting longer, it took me a while to get round to watching and reviewing it.
Giving 'The Toymaker' a fair chance with being interest and apprehension, it turned out to be far better than expected. Won't say that 'The Toymaker' is a great film because it isn't (pretty weak actually) and the potential, while not wasted, is not fully lived up to. Considering the large number of films seen recently being mediocre and less and wasting potential, was expecting worse and was relieved that while wanting in a fair few areas it was actually marginally better than most recent low-budget viewings.
'The Toymaker' started off quite reasonably, the first twenty minutes or so starting the film off on a promising, unsettling and atmospheric note that really does intrigue.
Production values did have some eeriness and nowhere near as cheap as expected, and the music, which not the most memorable in the world, didn't detract from the atmosphere.
The setting is effectively spooky. There are a few spooky and suspenseful moments.
However, the story was severely wanting in especially the second half after starting off promisingly for the first twenty minutes. It is very disjointed, extremely padded with so many scenes that add nothing and gets dull and uneventful too early after the promising start. The final third especially loses atmosphere, one loses interest and things start to not make sense and gets increasingly jumbled. Too much of the film is vague and doesn't explore some elements and story strands enough (motives are underexplored or absent for example), some dropped soon after being introduced, go nowhere or serve much point.
Ending is unsatisfying, on top of feeling hasty there are too many loose ends hanging in the air. Got the sense that the writers didn't know how to end the film. Would have liked much more tension and suspense (which were generally very lacking), scares could have been more consistent and much more (what there was was predictable and cheap) and generally weren't surprising enough.
Found too the script to lack natural flow and with a lot of cheese, repetition and padding going on, and the characters bland with some adopting some annoying and not always logical decision making. The support acting in particular is even more problematic than the second half's storytelling, at best it was poor and too often terrible.
Overall, weak but could have been worse. 3/10 Bethany Cox