Director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell, who hit the jackpot with Saw, reunite for this lurid spook show involving sinister ventriloquism dolls, a gimmick that hasn't gotten much play since the old Anthony Hopkins thriller Magic (1978). As Saw demonstrated, Wan and Whannell have a carnivalesque sense of fun and a sure instinct for recycling classic horror tropes, but their characters are so flat and their plotting so listless that this low-budget feature fails to generate much suspense. With Donnie Wahlberg, reprising his rumpled police detective routine from Saw II. R, 90 min.
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