Director: Nicholas Verso
Cast: Kyana Teresa, Georgia Waters, Verity Marks
Release Date: October 27, 2020 (Digital), January 19, 2021 (Blu-ray/DVD)
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8.5/10
David and Hannah Cashman have promised their family a fun Christmas getaway, but when they arrive at a grand, old house in the snowy woods of Washington and are greeted by familiar construction foreman, the kids realize their parent’s plan to make it a working vacation; renovating the place in the hopes of flipping it. Alicia, the eldest, is annoyed but the younger kids are soon distracted when, wandering through the creepy mansion, they find a stash of old toys in an abandoned playroom and take to them instantly. Before long, they seem to be inseparable from their new playthings, much to the consternation of their nanny Rose who, along with Alicia, senses that something in the house is not quite right. As stranger and stranger things start to happen, Rose and Alicia have a hunch that there may be more to the history of the old house than the Cashman’s are letting on. Can the family escape with their lives – or will they stay forever in the crumbling house, never to celebrate another Christmas again?
‘Toys of Terror’ accompanies David and Hannah Cashman, a house-flipping couple that has promised their children a Christmas getaway they’ll all enjoy when they relocate to a secluded mansion of a home just before the Holiday. An expansive long-abandoned building that once served as a children’s home until a terrible tragedy caused it to be shut down and anyone familiar with the event staying as far away as possible, the family begins to settle in only to promptly discover one creepy element after another, including a collection of old toys that seem to have a strange effect on the youngest two who quickly become attached. Initially chalking it up to tricks of the mind as they race to get the place welcoming for Christmas, they soon realize there is something truly dangerous within, but will it be too late to get out?
Directed by Nicholas Verso (Boys in the Trees, TV’s Nowhere Boys) from a screenplay by Dana Gould (TV’s Stan Against Evil), Verso does a great job at the helm of ‘Toys of Terror’ guiding along the eerie and entertaining fun with style. The film also features a fairly capable cast that includes Kyana Teresa (TV’s Shadowhunters), Georgia Waters (TV’s Siren), Verity Marks (The Christmas Club), Dayo Ade (TV’s Lost), Saul Elias (Breakthrough) and Zoe Fish (The Grudge 2020), with the majority providing generally solid performances for the most part in each of their respective roles.
‘Toys of Terror’ is a fun, fresh and immensely enjoyable Holiday horror tale that provides plenty of creepy and twisted fun and some deadly toys come to life with a stop motion animation style that brings them alive in a manner that’s right out of a nightmare version of our favorite old school Holiday specials. It always finds unique new ways to propel the story along, capably balancing a family drama and a ghost story of sorts with some undeniably eerie ideas that help to keep us on edge. While also interposing some holiday cheer, twisted dark humor and loving nods at the stop motion holiday specials of decades prior that all mold together into a surprisingly original and enjoyable ride that’s well worth taking.
In a year that’s been overwhelmed by so many negatives, ‘Toys of Terror’ is precisely the delightfully twisted holiday fun that 2020 needed and many horror fans who grew up with the stop motion holiday specials that the dangerous toys in the film so perfectly represent are likely to find a great deal to love about this solid straight to video film that is far better than many will expect. I’d strongly encourage genre fans that appreciate a great Christmas themed horror movie to give ‘Toys of Terror’ a whirl whenever you can. It’s a fun, creepy and darkly amusing holiday horror film that you won’t want to miss out on, and it just may also be worthy of regular revisits around the holidays in the future.
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 for the fellow genre fans out there who are likely to enjoy a holiday themed horror film with plenty of twisted fun and originality around every turn. While some may be understandably hesitant to drop the money on a blind purchase of the Digital release, this one should at the very least be worth the price of a rental whenever rental options become available (likely no later than January when it makes its Blu-ray and DVD debut) but anyone even mildly intrigued by the concept or the trailer will definitely want to make a point of giving this one a chance when possible.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the film’s Trailer. All images and content are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 8.5/10
‘Toys Of Terror’ Arrives on Digital October 27, 2020 & on Blu-ray & DVD January 19, 2021 from Blue Ribbon Content & Warner Bros. Home Entertainment