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||IMDB Rating: 4.2/10 from 317 votes
||Release: 16 April 2005 (USA) /
||Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
||Director: Paolo Sedazzari,
||Stars: Alexander Abadzis, Christopher Terry, Claudine Spiteri, Craig Henderson, Dom Gallagher, Elliott Jordan, Heather Chasen, Les Dungar, Minnie, Peter Ellis, Russell Barnes, Sara Bispham, Simon Mason, Suzanne Bertish, William Lockhart
||Synopsis: It all began so innocently for two children growing up in the deepest countryside, their imaginations set ablaze by a book on local myths and legends. Berenice convinces her younger brother Brian that she is the reincarnation of a witch with the powers to put everything right. As they grow up Brian becomes emotionally dependent on his sister, so that when she returns to the family home for Christmas with her new boyfriend he feels totally betrayed. At the same time a man strongly resembling the mythical Jake the Mid-Folker is closing in. An overwhelming sense of impending horror surrounds the house, but is the enemy outside - or is the enemy within? Written by Paolo Sedazzari
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Often, the mark of a good film is that you're still thinking about it
for days afterwards...
The Toybox has, more than anything else, a strong visual identity.
Credit to both the director and DOP for creating such a sickly visceral
quality, especially throughout the third act, that delivers on the
unsettling quirks and occasional jump-starts in the first two. There's
no doubt that this movie has style and energy to spare, and yet as the
visuals come together stylistically, the narrative slowly becomes more
and more disparate that it unravels into several unexplored and
unresolved avenues. It's a rare situation, but the film suffers from a
surplus of good ideas, with the script juggling too many plot strands
and is ultimately unable to catch hold of them all come the climax.
However, for a while at least, the intrigue of the back-story, and the
marriage of ancient folklore and modern-day sensibilities holds the
attention. Unfortunately, the post-production ADR hasn't been kind to
the performances, and some of the clunkier dialogue sometimes grates
and strains to convince. In fact, it's most often the case that the
more senior members of the cast manage to hold the script together and
create some memorably uncomfortable scenes (Conrad at the family dinner
is a stand-out for cliché-fish-out-of-water fun).
There are more themes here that would arguably be more interesting and
effective to follow through on if explored fully - and some pretty dark
elements at that. Obviously, there's the witchcraft element, but
beneath that lies a suggestion of an incestuous desire, which goes on
to manifest itself in jealousy and rage. Elsewhere, the relationship
between the Grandfather and his Grandchildren, and the shameful secrets
they share, offers another interesting angle. Whilst the implications
of these sub-plots open up several avenues ripe for exploration, they
get lost amongst muddied stories of folklore, murder and possession
(story-strands that also get lost and confused).
In essence, there are several other (and better) films trying to get
out, which unfortunately have to compete and jostle for attention
amongst the numerous other story lines involved in the film overall.
Some of the more hokey elements aren't successful either, although
sometimes, the visual quirks land a sucker-punch that the audience
won't be expecting. But whilst the script sometimes lack coherence, the
visuals smack of certainty, assurance, and a general comprehension of
how to provide the requisite shocks and scares.
Regardless of the script's shortcomings, the brutal and primal climax
is cranked up for all the visceral and visual carnage it's worth. There
are some beautifully scenic moments, which make the most of the
snow-laden fields and stark environment. Yet somehow the director
successfully creates the impression of a brooding claustrophobic
malevolence in contrast with the landscape shots which result in some
genuinely disturbing and affecting moments.
As a calling card to the British film industry, the film makers have a
lot of talent to offer, even if the source material sometimes lets down
the assured camera-work and flair. For every miss (teddy's glowing red
eyes, clowns in the toilet) there's a hit (literally and brutally, but
to describe it would give to much away!) Give these boys a budget and
source material to match their obvious talent and there's a definite
treat in store. And although the plot is largely forgettable, the film
has such a strong identity that it will linger in the memory long after
the final credits have scrolled...
Tags for The Toybox Full Movie
, Christopher Terry
, Claudine Spiteri
, Craig Henderson
, Dom Gallagher
, Elliott Jordan
, Heather Chasen
, Les Dungar
, Peter Ellis
, Russell Barnes
, Sara Bispham
, Simon Mason
, Suzanne Bertish
, William Lockhart
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