Toys of Terror... Reviewed!

Before we jump into this review, I just want to give a shout out to Warner Bros. for supplying a copy of this film for the review. My opinions are my own. That said, let's dive into... Toys of Terror.

Story: The story in this film starts out simple enough, maybe a little too simple though... because it was sort of... blah. I get what they were doing because they didn't really want to reveal the toys in action right away, but... that put a wrench in the intro.

So it opens up with this woman who looks like she's dressed for a funeral... dragging a chest across a blanket of snow to the Saint Germaine Children's Clinic (Est. 1918). She knocks and vanishes like a Ninja. A lady opens the door, finds one of those... "Looking for a good home" type of notes... and brings the chest in.

I can only imagine what happened inside the place because... that wasn't shown on camera. As soon as the door closes... you hear the woman scream. The scene closes out by showing the creepy woman hiding behind a tree, and then... it cuts to the title screen "Toys of Terror"! (Grrrrrr... aaarrrggg!)

I won't give the play by play for the rest of the film, but I wanted to speak on the opening a little bit.

Openers can make or break whether someone chooses to watch a film in its entirety...or not (duh of the day). Open strong. I think even if the audience saw at least one of the toys spring to life and set the pace of what's to expect... it would've been a lot more satisfying. I guess they just wanted to make sure that there was something there explaining how the toys got to the location, but that left me with more questions about their origin.

I watched the film for the sake of enjoying it for what it was, but I was still wondering if the origin of the toys would be revealed and how they were brought to life. When I saw Uncle monkey in action, I was like... (damn) that would've been a great toy to open with, but... I'll move on.

So the movie transitions to modern times... which is where the main story picks up. You have David (Dayo Ade) and Hannah Cashman (Kyana Teresa) rounding up their blended family of 5 + 1 (the nanny) for a road trip to a house they planned to flip. So it was going to be a working vacay over the holidays that just so happened to be the same hellhole where the toys were located. Joy!

Off the bat (excluding the opening scene), I noticed how... iffy the acting was (at least in part). I don't know what it is... maybe some actors are a little too wrapped up with remembering lines that they forget to act naturally, but the acting looked like... acting... in some scenes. The only person that came close to being believable for the most part... was David's daughter, Alicia. She had the most common sense.

Alicia (Verity Marks) was the teen forced to tag-along.

Alicia didn't get her common sense from her dad either, because this genius acted like he was going on a joyride to the nearest hospital after someone was... impaled. Seriously, I was like... what... the...(beep)?! That wasn't a natural reaction in my opinion, and neither were other reactions I observed in the film. I'll get back to why I kinda sorta found it amusing.

You may be asking yourself when the toys will actually get their shine, and you're in luck... because it's that time. The toys were present... and played their part somewhat, but... I really didn't consider all of them a terror. You had a few that are vicious, but most of the toys are mischievous at best. The youngest kids Franklin (Saul Elias) & Zoe (Zoe Fish) were usually seen running around with the toys in their arms... making sure they could access rooms. 

The toys sprang to life via old school stop motion in this film, which was okay, but... I'd give the biggest praise to the team for the work they did with Uncle Monkey. He took the cake (or errr.... the banana).

The team did a great job making the monkey look absolutely scary, which earned him the top spot on the movie's cover image. This particular toy could've had its own movie if the team played their cards right. It's still possible.

The synopsis is available here.

Visuals: As far as visuals go, they actually weren't bad. They sold the creepiness of it all... adding scenes with really weird looking toys chillin' in certain areas of the house. I was just waiting for them to break bad on the family, but one of the more truly scary scenes for me... was when the Nanny and the kids left an old kid's room (where the toy chest was).

The door was closing, and the camera went down and revealing scratches all over the bottom part of the door... like something was trying to get out. That right there, that was scary, and... the visuals continued to do their part up until this one particular scene with the toys in action.

The frame by frame stop motion animations was a brave attempt, I can't get mad at that... but there was a way to increase the realism during a scene where the toys were getting the kids excited about their sinister little idea of Christmas. Luckily it got better as the movie progressed.

By the way, I appreciated the fact that they incorporated videogames into the movie. I saw a Nintendo Switch make a small appearance and even an old school console... which looked like an Atari with games exclusive to film. Alicia was playing this one game... not realizing that it was her and others in the house, and what she was doing in the game seemed to determine what was going to happen in reality. I was surprised that they were able to deliver some chills with the console, but they did and did it well I might add. That would make the game one of the Toys of Terror.

Audio + Extras:
 Audio was basic Dolby Audio, which delivered the vocals through the center speaker of my surround sound system, but... most of the other sounds like the background music and sound effects were delivered through all speakers. I would've preferred to have that full surround sound experience, but I didn't mind the voices coming directly from the center speaker solely (this prevented any chance of their voices being drowned out).

Extras include: 

Toys of Terror Come to Life, which is a little featurette that explains what the film is about, and a look at how they brought the toys to life with stop motion animation.

A Terrifying Weekend: Making of Toys of Terror, is another featurette which shows you how the idea for the film came together... and how they brought the elements together for the horror-days. This mainly revolves around set design.

I didn't mind the extra. It gives you a little insight into the stop motion work and how it actually comes to life on film. Extras would've been a great way to present more backstory on the toys, but I digress.

The biggest con in this film's story is that the end of the film was wrapped up in a weird way (compared to real life). Why did the survivors just plan on going home when it was said and done? I'm not saying that they should have stayed there, but they didn't mention anything about a trip to the hospital or calling the cops while en route.

If I had the option to decide on how the movie would end... I would've had them on their way to the hospital, followed by Uncle Monkey appearing in the back window as they drove off. It would've given a continuation to the story and one last jump for the audience to enjoy.

Price: Pricewise... Toys of Terror comes in at $24.98 for Blu-Ray + Digital & $19.99 for DVD, which is about $5 more than what I'd consider as the sweet spot. I know that there is a standard price for select products... but just like in gaming, there should be tiers for TV & Film. Toys of Terror is available on DVD... January 19, 2021!

I think a bundle would've been sick for this movie, all they had to do was include an Uncle Monkey puppet with exchangeable heads (calm and vicious).

Overall, I have to say this... (hmmm) I've watched the movie around 3 times so far. It's funny but... cheesy horror movies have their own niche in my opinion. I don't know why (I really don't know why) they're so oddly... entertaining, but (at least in my culture) there are quite a few people that watch them just to give our take on what we'd do in these situations.

Story 2

Visuals 4

Audio + Extras 3

Price 3

3 out of 5 Cool Points

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