review for Dolls on AllMovie

Dolls (1987)
by Robert Firsching review

There's a line in The Breakfast Club that goes, "When you grow up, your heart dies." Director Stuart Gordon and screenwriter Ed Naha (who also collaborated on Honey, I Shrunk the Kids) seem to believe it, too, because they spare no effort to present the adults in the film as spiteful, venal beasts whose only goal seems to be crushing everything that is decent and good. The dolls are expertly rendered by John Brunner, Vivian Brunner, and Giancarlo del Brocco, with careful attention to detail and individual personalities. This is a serious-minded, lovingly crafted modern fairy tale that only misses classic status by a few clumsy, low-budget moments. Otherwise, Dolls a scary, oddly touching film that brings to mind, in its best moments, both Bruno Bettleheim's viciously satisfying riffs on Brothers Grimm and Michael Reeves' wonderful The Sorcerers. If viewers can ignore the typical Empire Pictures hallmarks like visible boom-mikes and windows that shatter a full second before a person goes through them, they are likely to enjoy this creepy, pleasantly old-fashioned fairy tale.