EVIL LITTLE THINGS * USA 2019 Dir: Matt Green. 85 mins
Top billed Zach Galligan, miscast as an abusive stepfather in a framing story ripped off from CREEPSHOW, appears to have shot his scenes in one afternoon for this lifeless horror anthology. His strict patriarch makes life miserable for a kid facing familiar under-the-bed-monster fears. Not helping much either is the boy’s visit to a toy shop overseen by the kind of grinning, predatory old man no one would ever hang around long enough to hear him spin two yarns about his creepiest stock. The first of the two painfully overstretched episodes has a mother-of-two (Hannah Fierman) moving into a murder-house with a kid scared of creepy leprechauns. Someone drops off a horrid leprechaun doll on the doorstep and, amidst dull childhood flashbacks and a backstory about the Georgian goldrush, the movie limps through a ponderous rehash of CHILD’S PLAY’s main scares, garnished with tedious laptop research and a lame payoff. The second story is, if anything, even worse and revolves around an unhinged 28-year-old doll collector / cosplayer (Courtney Lankin) suffering from parental issues and mental health problems. She brings one of her prize possessions, a 19th century German doll, to an Atlanta comic convention and goes on a weird dinner date with the cracked-face doll as the third wheel. Hard to believe someone signed off on the naff climactic digital effect, though the laughable, stabby red-eyed doll is embarrassingly rubbish on its own. Self-conscious, nudge-nudge dialogue doesn’t help EVIL LITTLE THINGS, a movie paced like a particularly weak 80’s TV horror movie and with the washed-out visual style to match. “Movie nearly killed the clown doll business”, notes the weird toymaker of POLTERGEIST, a reminder of something we’d much rather be watching. Note: never trust a film that can’t even manage to spell its star’s name correctly in the end credits.
Review by Steven West