Like in his Trick 'r Treat, Doughtery has a creative and polished, auteurist technique, now even better aided by a higher budget. This is shown in tracking shots, fine quirks as the clever opening titles, and the glorious stop-motion flashback. Yet, like in his debut, the script is the problem. It rarely balances the funny and scary beats properly, rarely clicking humor, and is seldom tense in scares. Uneven.
I didn't want or need this to be scarier, and I really liked the premise a lot, but I did want more to the story than there was. I also thought the evil, living toys were absolutely ridiculous and didn't suit the atmosphere that was set up at the beginning of the film. I was also disappointed by the ending.... even though I realize it was meant as a twist in an otherwise predictable story. 2.5 stars.
European folklore coming to life in American suburb and turned into, quite possibly, future holiday cult classic. The imagery is both Christmas fairy tale and pagan nightmare, executed through claustrophobic tension and agoraphobic turmoil while leaving enough room for social and political skits. Rewatchability ends as a possible weakest link for this to be something more than a gem for casual genre fans.
Good movie that delivers what is promised but nothing beyond that. There is potential here with a good story, cool creatures and an accomplished cast but somehow it does not gel in the way I wish it would. It feels like a weird marriage between the darkness and weirdness of Terry Gilliam and the adventurous sensibilities of a young Spielberg which should make for a home run but in this case becomes just good.