“Tell me, why should it be
you have the power to hypnotize me?
Let me live ‘neath your spell,
Do do that voodoo
that you do so well.”
– Cole Porter, “You Do Something To Me”
Tony (Mark Jurosko) is an angry and mysterious young man. His sister Melanie (Shana Meyerand) has been suddenly stricken with an inability to use her legs and Tony thinks he knows why, as it seems to stem from a practice he himself engages in: voodoo dolls. See, Tony is a kind of hired gun or hitman but not one I’ve ever seen before. And while the clever short film “Dolls For Strangers” stumbles a bit by never explaining what has happened to Melanie or why, writer/director Ken Cohen still manages to pull off an interesting and intriguing short.
The action in the film is out of sequence but for the most part “Dolls For Strangers” is pretty straight forward. While this is a nice mix of sci-fi and horror, the film never gets bogged down with on-the-nose creepy music or weird sound effects like many films in this genre do. Cohen gets to the point in each scene as we see Tony making the rounds, doing dirty deeds for dirt cheap. Seeking revenge on an ex? Tony will help you get it. Yet as the film goes on, his conscience and that of the people hiring him seem to grow stronger.
I really liked “Dolls for Strangers” and the conceits in the film could make for a pretty cool feature length film should Cohen decide to go longer with the material. The acting is fine and Jurosko as Tony has a creepy edge to him while also seeming caring as well as confused. While there are a few plot points that make no sense because they’re not explained at all, I was still won over by this unique idea and film.
This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.