THE DEVIL'S TOY BOX

PrintE-mail Written by Scott Clark

The Devil’s Toy Box is Allen Kellogg’s sequel to his 2011 debut 7 Nights of Terror, an information era horror which put seven unlucky reality show contestants in a haunted house. Kellogg’s sequel is a savvy slice of spooky fun and a nice expansion of a relatively straight forward but well-played debut. As a sequel, it feels like the Rec 2 or Grave Encounters 2 kind of move, taking the haunted house idea and giving us plenty of what we’d expect and a nice amount of what we don’t.

Kellogg himself returns as Carter, the sole survivor of the first film, last seen getting mowed down by a speeding car. After nonchalantly passing it off as a non-fatal, Kellogg zealously kicks into his story with genre awareness and generally well-executed scares. Perhaps more importantly Kellogg, along with co-star/writer Spencer jay Kim, has created some watchable characters, with plenty great actors to fill their boots. Sure Kellogg himself is more on the Tarantino side of director/actors, but he does well enough.

The Devil’s Toy Box is initially more interested in geographical horror than it is screamy CGI-induced ghost faces. When the film seamlessly appears to move characters between realms (this is the Rec 2 vibe we mentioned)  it can get really chilling. It’s a confusing terror, one that disorientates the audience until we have, like the characters, lost track of where everyone is. Lots of the credit goes down to editing since a film comprised of multiple camera feeds could easily get messy, but thankfully never does.

Kellogg pulls every trope out the book but he does so with a group of characters who appear pretty smart and react accordingly, in groups. The crew also venture back every night to a local motel where they unravel their recordings. It gives the illusion of control, a kind of safe haven from the horror, but leaves us in a suitable state when the film’s boundaries are increasingly transgressed by the assailing spirit. The film loses interest in boundary horror the further it goes, relying on pop-up faces for most of the screams in the demented cluster-fuck finale.

Still, it’s an impressive sequel with a whole bag of demented treats and some great writing. The Devil’s Toy Box takes the groundwork in Kellogg’s 7 Nights of Terror and pushes everything further, proving he can make a surprising entry to the overcrowded documentary horror genre.

THE DEVIL'S TOY BOX / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: ALLEN KELLOGG / SCREENPLAY: ALLEN KELLOG, SPENCER JAY KIM / STARRING: ALLEN KELLOGG, MEREDITH JOCHAN, SPENCER JAY KIM, ASHLEY BOSSARD, SEAN MANOS, LARRY NEHRING / RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER: 3RD
 


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