New Horror Releases: Evil Little Things (2020) - Reviewed

Evil Little Things is an anthology-style horror film set in a toy store, where a decrepit and deranged-seeming shop owner regales two gruesome tales about the cursed toys he stewards to a young boy and his mother.  

In the first segment, a leprechaun doll terrorizes a family who have recently moved into a new home. Shot inside a creepy-looking, old-fashioned house and relying on natural lighting, this segment delivers a classic gothic horror vibe. At times, the mythology of the story isn’t very clear; why is the leprechaun vengeful, and what does the house have to do with it? If you like the moody haunted house aesthetic, there’s enough of that to keep you invested.

The second segment is about a damaged doll who controls the life of her doll-obsessed owner through psychological manipulation. With a very different mood from the first segment, and also narratively confusing, I found this segment to be the weaker of the two. There is some suspense, but the pay off leaves much to be desired as I found myself really wondering what the hell happened.  

The stories are interwoven into a third story revolving around the boy and his mother from the toy store, his step dad,  and a clown doll named Giggles. Not exactly a segment, just a framing device for the other two segments, this is the shortest story of all and all it really has going for it is an interesting cameo from Zach Galligan of Gremlins and Gremlins 2. 

All in all, there are some creepy looking dolls in this movie that, at times, borrow from every single toy horror movie you’ve ever seen. The doll design is competent, although it’s nothing that jumped out as super memorable for me, though there are some satisfying, albeit short, gross-out moments. In fact, while the whole movie is competent and there’s not much to criticize, it still is not that memorable, and though I found the leprechaun segment to be fun, not that engaging either. 

-Mara Powell