Directed by Robert Noel Gifford
Written by Robert Noel Gifford
Stars: Anju Mcintyre, Julie Anne, Anne Ferrari, Damien Colletti, Maxine Wasa, Jacquelyn Velvets, Zoe Vargas, Monique Gata Dupree, Vania Bezerra, Dani Thompson, Brandi Asile, Jewel Elizabeth, Kylie Nash with Melantha Blackthorne, Brinke Stevens and Robert Noel Gifford as 'The Toymaker' AND 'The Devil'
Independent film-maker Rober Noel Gifford made my day in allowing me to be the first reviewer of his killer toy flick No Strings 2: Playtime in Hell. I have been interested in the movie for a long time and couldn't wait to see what was in store for horror fans. In short, the film is a hilarious, campy, throwback to the sexy and bloody horror films of the 1980s. Babes? Check. Creative villain? Check. Boobs? Check. Puppet led homicide? CHECK!. Think Evil Toons with a FAR better emphasis on the horror angle and a much more creative method of telling a story. In fact the way the film is shot with all the split screens and textual pop ups explaining the 'story so far' etc are just brilliant and really helps to move the film along at a quick and entertaining pace.
So what exactly is the film about? Diana (Anne Ferrari) is a lady let down by life (well her philandering husband to be exact!) and is forced to rent out the spare rooms in her home to be able to afford the rent. Diana's house mates come in the form of a bevy of beauties including tough gal Jennifer (Julie Anne), sexy and sultry Susan (Zoe Vargas) permanantly pissed off Pam (Monique Dupree) and gorgeous and upbeat Kerri (Jacquelyn Velvets). Also along for the ride is (the only male cast member aside from Robs cameo at the start!) Kevin (Damien Colleti) boyfriend of Jennifer.
There are a lot of great things going for this little indie horror. The opening scene involving Maxine Wasas character 'Karen' is an excellent, original introduction to Larry and is also actually really quite creepy. You see nothing gratuitous in this scene and truthfully? You don't need to. It works as the perfect lead into the cool opening credits which depicts key scenes from the film in art form. There are also some awesome 'clown doll stalking' scenes where Larry watches his prey and slowly makes his move on them and I enjoyed this aspect a hell of a lot. A lot of the bloodshed is off screen, and viewers have to use their imaginations with various slashing and stabbing noises and also blood splatter, but I kind of liked that about this movie. Not to say there isnt any gore to enjoy because there sure is!
Not only that but the ending feature's the one and only Brinke Stevens as well as the amazing Melantha Blackthorne. This scene features the definitive indie scream queen and rising indie horror star respectively as sisters in a scene which leaves all things open to a possible sequel and provides one final scare from Larry itself. Its a genius way to end such a fun film and echos the greatness of the opening.
There are a few flaws. Sometimes as atmospheric as the continuous rain pour is during the film it can sometimes drown out the dialogue. Also there are one or two weaker performances. That said I thought Anju McIntyre did a superb turn as the tough and sassy Detective Phillips, Jaquelyn Velvets was fantastic as the slightly kinder and more diplomatic Kerri and Zoe Vargas is a bit of a scene stealer as the pouty, clothes shy Susan. Also special mention should definitely go to Julie Anne as the acidic Jennifer who, along with the character of Diana I felt extremly sorry for at the end!
So No Strings 2: Playtime in hell is a rather short yet hillarious, entertaining and even slightly creepy horror film made by someone with a clear love and passion for the genre. Please check out the movies official website and Facebook page. I hope that people will get to see the film very soon. If you are lucky enough to be around Nottingham way on the 3 and 4 November this year you can see the FIRST EVER UK SCREENING of the the movie at the Cochise Film Festival. Check out the festivals official website for details and get yourself over there...you may even get to meet Robert and others involved in the movie......