Alyssa Rhoads, Seth Cheek, and Lewis D. Chaney
Neil Kellen, Lewis D. Chaney
Neil Kellen's The Doll Maker was shot in 4K using the Panasonic GH5 in less than 24 hours as part of the "My Annabelle Creation" Short Film Contest, an obvious spin-off from the Annabelle: Creation horror film. In the film, a man (Seth Cheeks) is searching for the corpse of his dead wife. After getting a tip about who may very well have them, he heads off for an encounter that guarantees to be everything he never expected.
With a less than four minute short, Kellen's job here was to amp up the creepiness and chills in fast order and to keep us involved long enough for the big hook to arrive.
The Doll Maker has fun with the whole creepy doll sub-genre of indie horror and accomplishes quite a bit with very little. Kellen's lensing is dark and jarring, while Daniel Roach's original music is appropriately creepy and helps to sell the suspense.
The film's ensemble cast, which also includes co-director Lewis D. Chaney in his first acting role, has handled this kind of film before and they clearly know what they're doing. Chaney makes such a creepy debut that you practically expect him to show up in the next Human Centipede film.
Wait, there's not going to be another Human Centipede? Damn. That sucks.
Seriously, The Doll Maker is a creepy and fun little short film and proof positive that when you have good friends in creepy places you can make a mighty fine short in 24 hours.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic