The Horror Honeys: Dollface... or is it Crinoline Head?

Dollface... or is it Crinoline Head?

A Slasher Honey Indie Review by Chassity

Dollface (2015)

Amongst all the bitching about there being nothing good to watch anymore in the horror world, about the slasher genre dying out because it’s giving way to trends like supernatural films and found footage, I am always hopeful when a new slasher film presents itself for my viewing pleasure. I am not hard to please in this area. All I ask for is a decent killer with a rich backstory, a little suspense, and at least an attempt at unique characters beyond the tired 15-21 generic archetypes. 

So, naturally, I went into Dollface hopeful that it would meet these basic requirements. There was enough in the trailer to make me believe it could be a fresh addition to my list of beloved slasher films. 

Unfortunately, that was not the case. At least not the way I hoped. 

Dollface is the story of Dorchester (!) Stewart, a young boy who lives a secluded life with his mother (think Norman Bates, Jason Voorhees, Jacob Goodnight multiplied by like, 100...), until she unexpectedly dies of a heart attack. Because Dorchester and his mother live such a secluded life, it is quite a while before he is discovered alone with his dead mother’s body. 

After Dorchester is found, it is discovered that (seeing as how he’s a young boy who doesn’t know how to cook), he had survived by feeding on the corpse of his dead mother (ew). Instead of being sent to an orphanage or anything logical, Dorchester (what an unfortunate name, by the way) is sent to a mental health facility, or something along those lines. And because of all this, his solution is to become… a serial killer?

All of this backstory is told to a group of college students by their professor, Mr. Donner. A couple of these students want to do a project on Dorchester, which prompts Donner to tell the story of how he was almost murdered in the first round of Dorchester’s (now known as Crinoline Head) murder spree. So, of course, instead of scaring the college students into doing another project, this tale of terror just inspires more students to go along with the original two. Because, pfft, danger, right? What a joke. 
You know what happens next. Anybody reading this has seen enough horror movies to know that things are not going to end well for this latest batch of heinously stupid young people. 

You're all going to die. Horribly.
It'll be awesome.
So here’s what I didn’t like about this movie: first, the obvious red herring. I won’t say who, but what is the point of having a character set up as suspicious, then disappear for the rest of the movie, only to have their red herring-ness pay off for about five minutes of the last ten minutes of the movie? 

Look, no one has more of a love/hate relationship with horror movie character archetypes/stereotypes than I do. I’ll admit that. But I can honestly there has never been, and I’d bet my last dollar there never will be, a group of slasher movie characters I hate more than the collective bunch in this movie. One character in particular. They are absolutely atrocious, and there is not one redeeming trait among anyone in the bunch. It’s hard to enjoy a movie with characters this painful to watch.

And speaking of characters, I will give this movie credit for including a group that I, for one, have never seen in horror movies before: drag queens. That was a nice piece of freshness. But… I have to take that credit right back because these same characters were used as nothing more than stereotypes and caricatures to help boost the body count. 

Dollface also makes an attempt at a backstory, but it isn’t very scary and is instead kind of nonsensical. Why would an eight year old boy be put in a mental health facility for doing what he had to do to survive without parents? And what in all this leads to: “Hey, now I’m going to become a serial killer!”? Nothing. It’s implied that Crinoline Head is ashamed of himself for feeding on his mom’s body, and maybe that drives him insane, but how does this lead to killing other people? Maybe I’m overthinking it, but I just don’t get it. 

The other thing I just don’t get: the movie is called Dollface, so naturally I assumed that would be the killer’s nickname. But… no? He is repeatedly called Crinoline Head, which might be worse than his actual name. 
Ahhh! It's Dollf--- I mean, Crinoline Head!!
All of this aside, this is not to say that Dollface doesn’t have anything to offer. It does. The scene in which Crinoline Head’s backstory is given is well done, intense, and was the first scene that drew me into the film. Plus, despite every other fault, the kills made the movie worthwhile. Dollface had some of the best kill scenes I’ve ever seen, and that boosts it up as far as I’m concerned. It successfully pulled off suspense a few times, too, and who can ask for much more at the end of the day in a slasher movie? 

It’s been said that we horror fans really only care about the death scenes, and though I’d argue until I’m out of breath that that’s not true, Dollface is the type of movie that is made for the kind of horror fan who are all about the kills. 

Predicting your death in 3... 2... 
So, after all is said and done, is this a movie that should be seen? It’d be easy to say no, but I’ll say yes for two reasons: the death scenes alone are worth it, and because with our little subgenre being pushed aside for other subgenres and unnecessary remakes, we can’t afford to not see every new slasher brought our way, even if it isn’t the best. Watch it when you’re fed up with yet another piece of Freddy/Jason/Michael remake news. It’ll make you feel better. 

Are YOU ready for a new slasher icon? 
Tell me on twitter! @ChassMM 

If you're still not convinced, Dollface has won multiple awards including Best Indie Horror Film at the Horror Society Awards, Best Feature at 2014 Halloweenapalooza, and Best Director, Best Horror, and Audience Choice at the 2014 Indie Flix Film Showcase.

On September 15, 2015, Dollface will be available on the following VOD platforms: iTunes, Amazon Instant, Xbox, Google Play, Vudu, and Cable Broadcast VOD. If you care about such things, the DVD special features include outtakes, extended scenes, and cast auditions.