This film gives you rich stuff to ponder right in the opening credits, and first is “based on an original idea by Charles Band”. The limit of the idea was a poster, apparently, and this sort of impresses me, that Band can get a poster turned into a film. Secondly is the screenwriting credit – David S Goyer! Goyer has written “Man Of Steel” and Christopher Nolan’s three Batman films, among many others, and this was his second script.
80s soap queen Tracy Scoggins is Judith, a cop, in this, and she and her partner are undercover, attempting to buy some guns from a couple of low-rent arms dealers. I don’t want to give the script too much credit, but the main characters are quickly and simply introduced – as well as this scene, we get a security guard at a toy warehouse and the guys at the fast-food chicken place he calls up, which boils down to Mark, the delivery guy who’s friends with the security guard. Oh, how I wish more films could do all that in as little time as this one does.
Judith’s partner (who’s also her boyfriend) gets shot just after he finds out he’s going to be a dad, and the film then moves entirely inside the toy warehouse. Her dreams of two kids playing a game of cards combines with the appearance of a very creepy kid, the personification of some demon or other who wants to hijack a pregnancy so he can be born and take over the world.
So far, so good and toy-free, right? Well, the demon is so weak all he can do is animate the toys found lying around the warehouse, and that’s when that good Full Moon flavour comes right on through. Charles Band must have had some very odd experience as a kid, and it’s burned itself right onto his brain and out through his films. He’s got Puppet Master, this series of films, something called “Blood Dolls” and a few others…without him, the world of films of tiny things attacking people would be greatly poorer. We’ve got Baby Oopsy Daisy, Grizzly Teddy, Jack Attack, and Mr. Static in this one, although Mr. Static sort of sucks.
As a small aside, don’t try and understand the continuity of the Full Moon universe. We have this film, and then a couple of years later an unholy stew of the toys, Dollman and a character from “Bad Channels” called “Dollman v. Demonic Toys”; ten years after that comes “Puppet Master v. Demonic Toys”; then in 2010 “Demonic Toys 2”, which ignores the events of those two “versus” films. Oh, and a few of them pop up in the first “Evil Bong”. Ah, I give up.
Can Judith, Mark, the security guard, the woman they find in the air vents and the remaining arms dealer fight their way out of the warehouse before the demon can complete his ritual? Well, as we progress towards finding out, we also realise this is a surprisingly interesting film. The ebbs and flows are well laid out, the atmosphere is genuinely creepy at times, you understand where everyone is and why they’re doing what they’re doing and while it’s certainly not perfect (there are a lot of plotlines in this, and a few of them get dropped without a further mention; one of the baddies gets a quip off after being shot in the head; someone picks a handcuff lock with a knife, surely impossible) if you’re at all fond of the Full Moon-iverse, as I am, you’ll definitely enjoy this one.
Rating: thumbs up