Toys of Terror lacks the terror
Warner Bros. allowed me to watch Toys of Terror via a free DVD that they sent me. I am not a fan of the horror genre but from time to time I will try to watch one. I usually pick one that I have enjoyed before or watch something new that caught my eye. Toys of Terror was on my radar because I love when toys come to life in movies, such as Toy Story, Babes in Toyland, Small Soldiers, Puppet Master, and Child Play.
David and Hannah Cashman have promised their family a fun Christmas getaway, but when they arrive at a grand, old house in the snowy woods of Washington the kids realize their parent’s plan to make it a working vacation. Alicia, the eldest, is annoyed but the younger kids are soon distracted when they find a stash of old toys in an abandoned playroom and take to them instantly. Before long, they seem to be inseparable from their new playthings. As stranger and stranger things start to happen, they realize that there may be more to the history of the old house than the Cashman’s are letting on. Can the family escape with their lives, or will they stay forever in the crumbling house, never to celebrate another Christmas again?
Toys of Terror had the potential to deliver real scares and gore but it unfortunately decided to not take itself seriously. There was not much of a backstory for these haunted toys before dumping a family into a new home where these toys exist. The pace began extremely slow which made the movie dull for some time as you waited for the scares to come. It was hard to keep my attention throughout but luckily towards the end, it did start to pick up and the ending was satisfying. The acting was on par with the quality and budget of this film but the toys could have definitely been scarier. All I could think while watching was that this movie could have been a Goosebumps book/episode back in the day and probably would have been much more creepier.
Toys of Terror is Rated R but barely feels PG-13
The ball was dropped when stop-motion animation was used to turn innocent toys into terrorizing ones. I understand that this was a creative idea but it was not executed very well. I believe a better choice to toy designs would have benefited the story. Film quality dropped immensely when the toys transformed and the contrast became a silly gimmick. The haunted toys in the Nightmare Before Christmas were creepier and more terrorizing that the ones in this film. I think it was best to use practical effects and mild CGI to bring the toys to life.
I give Toys of Terror a 3/10 , as it does not give us many kills and scares. I hope that they learn that to embrace the horror elements next time and take advantage of an R rating.
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