Why are some folks so freaked out by dolls? What is it about their porcelain skin and blank stare that scare people so much? Well, whatever it is about dolls that haunts everyone so, movies have been exploiting that fear for a long time. In the grand tradition of Stuart Gordon’s underrated Dolls comes Evil Little Things to try and frighten audiences everywhere.
Matt Green’s anthology only has three stories to it, including the wraparound. The through storyline is The Clown and starts with Jason (Mason Wells), a young boy calling for his mom (L.A. Winters) as he is afraid there is a monster under his bed. His stepdad (Zach Galligan) comes instead and finds no monsters.
The next day, mom and child are at a toy store when the proprietor (Geoff McKnight) asks if he can help them. Jason is drawn to a leprechaun doll with a slight burn mark on its face. So, the dollmaker tells the story of how the doll got that mark.
“…the dollmaker tells the story of how the doll got that mark.”
Thus begins the first tale, Blood For Gold. Jess (Hannah Fierman), her husband, and two children Daniel (Drew Youngblood) and Katelin (Piper Collins), have recently moved into a new house. One day after checking the mail, she notices an unmarked package on her doorstep. Bringing it inside and opening it, Jess finds it is the leprechaun doll. Now drawers are being opened with no one around, and thudding noises can be heard throughout the house. What does the living leprechaun doll (voiced by Matt Green) want from Jess and her family?
After that terrifying tale, the mom wants to leave the store, although Jason is attracted to another doll, Patty (voiced by Yasmine Bakhtiari). In Be Careful What You Wish For, Abby (Courtney Lakin) was burned years ago and is very self-conscious about how she looks, as well as how she perceives others to see her. While cosplaying during a convention, as she carts her vast array of dolls around in a wagon, Abby runs into her former boyfriend, Jeremy (Jonathan Horne).
They dated in high school, but after her accident, Abby was shuffled around from one hospital to another to another for her physical therapy and surgeries. This meant that Jeremy lost track of where she was. But now, the two reconnect and pick things up (almost where) they left off. But this newfound attention Abby is receiving makes her most prized doll, Patty, jealous. So, Patty devises a way to keep Abby all to herself.
Proceeding this, of course, is the finale of the wraparound story. While a bit uneven, overall Evil Little Things is a rather fun, slightly spooky ride. The wraparound takes too long to get going. Starting it in the shop would have been the better choice. While the monster under the bed moment has a payoff at the very end, it is such a common childhood fear that it would be understandable without it.
"…the puppetry of the dolls is fantastic..."