Again aping the mainstream Hollywood affair, Rocky Soraya presents another direct imitation of the hit film ‘Annabelle’ as it would seem that the killer is never truly dead as this sequel to the original doll film appeared the year after the first one. Getting the storyline prepared for the spin-off to come in ‘Sabrina,’ this new effort in the burgeoning Indonesian horror series is now available on Netflix
Following a terrible tragedy, Maira (Luna Maya, from “Killers”) and her husband Aldo (Herjunot Ali, from “Suzzanna: Buried Alive”) find themselves tasked with trying to get over their daughters’ death in a car accident. When her friend Elsa (Maria Sabta, from “Rumah Gurita”) arrives to help her cope with the situation she only enhances the situation when they try a rather bizarre ritual mean to contact her daughters’ spirit as a means to soothe Maira’s nerves. As they are soon subjected to a series of hauntings and strange supernatural occurrences, they turn to Laras (Sara Wijiyanto, from “Wengi: Anak Mayit”) and her brother Bagas (Rydhen Afexi) and they learn they’ve been targeted by a savage spirit from their past coming back for revenge, and try to stop the beings’ rampage against them.
Overall, ‘Doll 2′ proved to be a worthy follow-up effort. One of the more enjoyable elements of the film is it provides more of the franchises’ penchant for numerous action scenes and supernatural encounters. This gets off to a smashing start with the opening battle with the spirited-inhabited family for a rather enjoyable exorcism attempt before realizing the true nature of the possessed girl and the race to get home to stop the chilling action taking place. This frantic opening sets up some of the later supernatural antics with the doll appearing around the house or the disembodied voices leading her to dangerous locations, a great twist on the typical ploy of having the voices become the source of the scares.
There’s also the rather enjoyable amount of supernatural action within the final half. The start of their troubles when Maira’s at the center of the haunting brings about some tense moments due to the twisted use of their childish game. There’s some fun with the discovery of the notes left around the house or the doll showing up in weird places that build up rather nicely and with a diversion to an island resort that carries on the games leading to the outright chilling encounter at the pool. Detailing the body-hopping possession, chases and some outright brutal antics all throughout the house, this near hour-long series of bloody brawls, brutal beatings and supernatural action needed to be highly enjoyable.
Another big factor for ‘Doll 2’ is the fine storytelling, with screenwriter Riheam Junianti building a nicely layered setup. The death of the child at the fifteen-minute mark gives ‘Doll 2’ the perfect launching pod to spiral Maira out into a grieving mother overcome with guilt. Her frayed nature and jangled nerves mean the perfect tipping point between her appearing as a real encounter or not as this wisely chooses to turn the scares into situations that can make her look crazy. Almost every supernatural attack can easily be written off as the byproduct of her grief-riddled subconscious playing tricks, constantly claiming the doll is there when nothing shows up or freaking out over nothing. This ends up creating an intriguing viewpoint on grief and depression as these events bolster Maira’s guilt that caused all the great action throughout the finale. These end up being enough to hold up the film over its flaws.
There are a few issues here. The biggest factor is an overlong finale that draws the film out by offering several storylines that don’t need to be included. The entire cheating husband angle to explain the dolls’ attitude towards him means nothing due to having no build-up at all. By supposedly hinted at with a flashback as the means of introducing the idea means we were never around for it to begin with. As well, the whole setpiece revealing the duplicity is entirely cliched with Yani’s constant claims of doing it solely to win Aldo away from his wife causes more eye-rolling than anything and doesn’t drive any kind of sympathy towards her. The cliche antics in the rest of the film are a real problem, with killers that don’t die from traditionally mortal wounds, ghosts that pop up out of nowhere or possessing the innocent to seek their revenge. These issues are what hold this one back.
While there are some overall fun aspects to ‘Doll 2,’ some of the flaws might be more damaging and detrimental as those are big enough. Heed caution if those factors hold a film down, but for those that aren’t mindful of such issues then give this a shot especially for fans of the previous entry in the series.