Toys of Terror is a weird little horror film that delivers a couple of exciting moments while leaving you with a lot of questions.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with the Toys of Terror DVD for free to review. The opinions I have shared are my own.
Even though Disney made a lot of us think that our toys came to life when we aren’t around, many of us (mainly due to the Child’s Play franchise, in my case) have wondered what would happen if our toys had murderous inclinations. Toys of Terror takes that premise and involves a family trying to survive Christmas.
The movie opens in the past, where a mysterious woman decides to leave a trunk of toys at a children’s hospital. This leads to everyone in the establishment, including the kids, dying and the hospital getting shut down.
In the present, we get to see married house-flippers David (Dayo Ade) and Hannah Cashman (Kyana Teresa) taking their kids to that old building. Their plan is to renovate the huge structure and sell it off to someone rich. But before that, they think it’s a good place to spend some quality time with their children and celebrate Christmas.
Of course, creepy stuff soon occurs (strange sounds, sightings of ghost children, etc). While David and Hannah brush it all off (because they can’t let their current project fail), the oldest kid, Alicia (Verity Marks), and the nanny, Rose (Georgia Waters), are certain there’s something going on and it’s all somehow connected to the toys they found in an old trunk.
There’s a lot of nostalgia in Toys of Terror. Alicia plays a retro video game (which somehow has the ability to show her what horrible stuff is about to happen). The cursed toys are realized in stop motion animation. Their jerky movements made me quite uncomfortable.
Seeing the horrible-looking toys find different ways to harm the family and their acquaintances was fun.
The main cast did good work in their respective roles. I liked Alicia’s proactive nature. She knew something was up and she teamed up with Rose to figure things out. She also played a major role when everyone’s dealing with the murderous toys during the finale.
As for Hannah, I understood her predicament. Trying to balance a demanding work schedule and spending time with kids is tough. But she tried. So, points for that.
I was a fan of the family coming together to face a very dangerous challenge while experiencing some growth in the process.
As for my complaints, I would have liked for the retro video game to be fleshed out more. Was it only showing Alicia what was about to happen or did she have some level of control over certain events if she played the game differently?
Rose’s backstory needed more context, too. I wasn’t a fan of her arc. It made sense, but I think it needed more work to feel earned. It just kind of happened.
I was also expecting a better explanation about why the toys were cursed and why they were so determined to kill everyone.
Having said that, I still enjoyed watching Toys of Terror because of the performances by the cast and the overall eeriness director Nicholas Verso was able to showcase.
Coming to the Toys of Terror DVD release (the previously announced Blu-ray release was scrapped, from what I can tell), it’s your usual WBHE fare. With a lot of the scenes occurring at night, you won’t have any problems seeing what’s happening on the screen.
As for the extra content, you will get Behind-the-Scenes videos that share interviews with the cast and crew as well as show how the toys (and this film) were created. The enhanced content is around 14 minutes long.
If you’re interested in watching a horror film that features PoC cast members and nostalgic stop motion animated toys out for blood, you should consider giving Toys of Terror a watch. The narrative needed more layers, but I still enjoyed watching it. Have the kids in your family see it if you want to scare them a bit. Ha!
The Toys of Terror DVD was released on January 19, 2021. It’s available on Digital, too.
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Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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