June 2, 2012

The Doll Master: Toying With Death

Mi-na (Lim Eun-kyeong) has a bone to pick. It's been 20 years since Hae-mi (Kim Yu-mi) unceremoniously dumped her and she's never been the same since. She's tearful. She's confused. She's seeking reconciliation. For years, they had seemed inseparable. Not lesbian lovers. Not best friends exactly. Something much more special than that. Something one of a kind. Theirs was the unrivaled relationship of a doll and her devoted owner.

A sentimental spin on Chucky from the Child's Play horror franchise, The Doll Master's Mina is a homicidal plaything, a toy who comes to life only to cause death, a bit of cuteness turned to creepy. Yet while Chucky is a sociopath, Mina is a spurned victim motivated by love, albeit a love that's gone fatally sour. After multiple attempts to rekindle the sweet devotions of childhood, she eventually opts for revenge on her former caretaker, a tomboy who's come to their hometown for implausible reasons: a random invitation to model for a miniature reproduction of herself. (She's one of five guests who've been lured there, the others being a morose novelist (Ok Ji-Young), a clownish photographer (Lim Hyeong-jun), a perky co-ed (Lee Ka-yeong) and an undercover cop (Shin Hyeong-tak). Only the novelist comes with her own doll though, a relatively subdued little guy named Damien.)

Mi-na isn't the only doll hellbent on vengeance either. In fact, compared to one of her kin -- a somewhat large figurine out to slaughter any descendants of the locals who literally got away with a murder 60 years ago -- Mi-na's obsession to revive a dead relationship seems quaint, her anger at failing to do so, petty. Think of all the teddy bears, action figures and hand puppets that could've become animated and joined her. She's alone in being unable to forgive and forget.

The action in Jeong Yong-ki's The Doll Master all takes place at a doll museum where Mrs. Im (Kim Bo-yeong) is possessed by an evil spirit that drives her to skip meals so she can paint red lips on porcelain heads. Her boyfriend and accomplice Mr. Choi (Chun Ho-jin) makes cryptic utterances while keeping her brother chained up in the basement. And if you think that porcelain saint outside is going to save anyone here, you couldn't be more mistaken.

No comments:

Post a Comment