Around the time that Annabelle: Creation was hitting theaters, I acquired a film that also had to do with some sort of killer doll. I put it on my shelf without any real hesitation, as I figured it was just another cheap imitation looking to make a few bucks off of the possible success of the big horror sequel. This happens from time to time, so it isn’t really a surprise anymore. I was looking for something to watch this morning, however, and upon seeing that same DVD, still in the exact spot on my shelf where I left it, decided I’d take a chance on it. Fortunately, Charlotte: The Doll Behind the Horror is nothing like the David Sanberg flick and was quite enjoyable.
A babysitter is bound and gagged by a possessed doll, being forced to watch various horror stories, each more terrifying than the last.
A collection of short films, Charlotte really does seem to have it all. There are a total of eight shorts from various directors, covering various topics, with another story that wraps the entire thing up, of course. Directors involved with the project include Patrick Rea, Colin Campbell, Corey Norman, Calvin Main, Johnny Lee, and April Wright. The filmmakers covered everything from voodoo and making sacrifices to demonic entities to aliens and werewolves, so there truly is something here for everyone.
Each story presented in Charlotte is entertaining in its own right. The films within the film seem to be shorter than most anthology segments, ranging from anywhere between 10 minutes and 25 minutes, but that is fine with me. It allows the filmmakers to get right to the point without much filler or downtime. I think most fans would agree that this is preferable these days, since our attentions spans seem to diminish more and more as the days go by.
An odd little factoid about Charlotte is that I cannot find anything about it on IMDb. The main reason for this, I feel, is because well, it is kind of piecemealed together. As the first short, “Counter Parts,” began to play, I couldn’t help but think I’ve seen it before. Well, that’s because I had seen it before! Over three years ago, as a matter of fact. While it doesn’t supply much detail, you can read the review that Roger and I published about Patrick Rea’s short by clicking here. Without doing further research, I can only assume that the rest of the shorts were made before Charlotte was even a thought, as well. While some may find this kind of silly or as some sort of cash-grab, I think it is quite the opposite. Collecting these short films from throughout the last few years gives the audience a new outlet for actually seeing the work that these filmmakers have put in. To my knowledge, there is no other way to own these 10 minute-or-so shorts in [our] ever-growing media collections, so I surely welcome this opportunity and am proud to own them all in one spot, on one DVD.
While the wraparound story, also directed by Patrick Rea I believe, and the shorts themselves don’t have anything to do with each other, I still enjoyed myself for the 84 minute runtime of Charlotte. I was introduced to some great new filmmakers, all of whom are very talented individuals. Each film featured top-notch production quality, competent acting performances, creative scripts, and impressive special effects, all on a shoestring budget. If you support independent filmmaking in any way, I highly recommend buying a copy of this DVD. Even if it helps these directors, writers, etc. in the slightest, it is worth it. They are the future of the genre we love so much and need all of the support they can get.
Charlotte is available on DVD now from MVD Visual and Synergetic. I give this one an overall rating of 4 towers of girl scout cookies out of 5.