Toys of Terror is a 2020 American horror film about kids that discover toys that magically come to life but have a malevolent side.
Directed by Nicholas Verso (Boys in the Trees) from a screenplay written by Dana Gould, the Blue Ribbon Content-Cartel Pictures-The Cartel production stars Dayo Ade, Georgia Waters, Zoe Fish and Kyana Teresa.
Just before Christmas, young Zoe, her brother Franklin and their family move into a secluded mansion with a dark past. While the adults focus on renovating the place, the bored kids find a toy chest hidden in the attic and are delighted when the toys inside magically come to life. However, bizarre events soon begin to take place – events that threaten the family’s lives. As the special day dawns with gifts piled under the tree, the body count rises and the blood starts to flow…
” …a tame story that flirts with its intentions but ends up playing it too damn safe. There are a few things that worked, though. The performances are good, with angsty teen Alicia (Verity Marks) having the best arc. Simultaneously, David (Dayo Ade) ended up being the most level-headed and relatable character of the bunch. The toys’ design is unique, and the setting is perfect for the eventual mayhem, but this doesn’t use any of it to its advantage.” Arrow in the Head
“It’s delightful, though never scary. The mythology is paper-thin, and the story beats play out predictably. At least one of the kills will elicit eye-rolling laughs. The script and acting can be stilted, but it somehow winds up working with the wholesome tone. It’s a shame Verso didn’t have a stronger script or story to work with, but he elevates it nonetheless.” Bloody Disgusting
“Director Nicholas Verso employs steady pacing and an enchanting use of the Victorian building’s beauty–the manor house is almost a character unto itself, dripping with gothic dread, and the bold use of lighting, colors and cinematography evoke a chilly, foreboding menace. But it’s an all-too-familiar malevolence that we’ve seen far too many times before and that now seems less a horror film than an irritating cinematic paint-by-numbers pantomime of one.” Critical Blast
“In addition to stock characters, scares are of the standard variety too. Trope-y frights include startling reflections, ghost children, nightmare sequences, scenes of creeping around slowly, and insert shots of eerie doll faces or mounted animal heads. Deaths are extremely limited, so expect a long meantime filled with a lot of this buildup fluff.” Culture Crypt
” …it even pilfers the “spider in the popcorn” scene from Arachnophobia, another “teen-friendly” horror flick! Of course, these are the “toys of terror” so we also get numerous stop-motion animated sequences that reminded me of Full Moon’s famous killer doll franchises, by way of more simpler kids animation – a perfect storm of fun and fear.” Nerdly
“Overall, Toys of Terror is quite simply, awesome. A clever, incredibly fun and beautifully shot Christmas centered horror tale that tips its hat to the stop motion holiday specials of old in a perfectly demented way combined with an engaging story, fairly relatable characters and a gorgeous setting for all of the creepy fun to play out amid. Toys of Terror is highly recommended…” Screen Connections
“It takes an hour of the film’s ninety minutes before anything really horrible happens. We do get some awful stop-motion moving toys. And when I say awful, I mean CGI would have been preferable. I’d almost prefer Toys of Terror went the route of Dolls or Elves and skipped the effects entirely […] There is a well-staged car crash but that’s about it. The film is truly a long dull slog with nothing of interest going on.” Voices from the Balcony
MOVIES and MANIA rating:
Toys of Terror was released on Digital by Warner Bros on October 27th 2020. A Blu-ray and DVD release has been scheduled for January 19th 2021.
Cast and characters:
Dayo Ade … David
Georgia Waters … Rose
Zoe Fish … Zoe
Kyana Teresa … Hannah
Ernie Pitts … Emmett
Verity Marks … Alicia
Muriel Hogue … Nurse
Saul Elias … Franklin
Lauren Marshall … Mrs Modig
Max Nelson … Ten-Year-Old Boy