Desmond Harrington plays Kenneth, a terminally shy, socially inept technical writer. Lonelybeyond words and attracted to temp Lisa (Melissa Sagemiller) but unable even to speak to her, heorders a $10,000.00 love doll. After some initial awkwardness, he develops a full-fledgedrelationship with doll Nikki, one that gives him more confidence at work and with Lisa. But evenas he begins a real-life relationship, things begin to fall apart, as he senses that the doll isbecoming j…alous.
A first-rate addition to the sub-genre of horror films featuring characters losing their mindsbecause of dolls (see Magic, Pin), Love Object is both horror film andcaustic black comedy. It has some extremely pointed things to say about the male objectificationof women, and does so not in a didactic fashion, but in ways that pump up both the queasy laughsand the goosebumps. Harrington does marvellous work as Kenneth as he moves from victim tomenace, and any horror film that has both Rip Torn AND Udo Kier in the supporting cast getsmy vote. This is a prime example of what smart horror can do: take abstract concepts and makethem flesh.
The 5.1 soundtrack is effective, even if there isn’t much surround. This is because this is afilm that does a lot with silence, and the sound design is very spare. The music sounds very good,though, with solid bass, and when there is a moment that calls for environmental effects, they arepresent and correct.
The colours have an interestingly harsh and gritty feel to them, which contributes to the coldatmosphere of the film. the image is sharp, and the contrasts are fine. There is no edgeenhancement, but there is considerable grain throughout the film. The aspect ratio is 1.78:1anamorphic widescreen.
There are two commentary tracks. The first is by director Robert Paragi, and his focus ismore on the production side of things, though he doesn’t ignore thematic issues. The secondtrack has Paragi talking with cast members Harrington, Sagemiller, Brad Henke and RobertBagnell. Though one regrets the absence of Torn and Kier, the latter is interviewed by Paragi inone of the “Video Postcards.” These are making-of featurettes, but are much more intelligent andinformative than usual. Also profiled are make-up and FX supervisor Brian Penikas andcomposer Nicholas Pike. The “Director’s Video Scrapbook” is a series of behind-the-scenesshots. There are two galleries: photo and poster. Selecting the Lions Gate logo offers up trailersfor Open Water, Ju-On: The Grudge, Monster Man and Godsend.The menu’s main screen is animated and scored, while the second-level screens areanimated.
It’s always a treat when something like this shows up unexpectedly. Horror fans owe it tothemselves to check this out.
Special Features List
- Director’s Commentary
- Director and Cast Commentary
- Udo Kier Interview
- Composer Interview
- Make-up and FX Supervisor Interview
- Photo Gallery
- Poster Gallery
- Director’s Video Scrapbook