David Del Rio is back in the director’s chair with his feature length directorial debut, Sick For Toys. He’s had quite the interesting career so far, first starring in projects like The Belko Experiment and “The Troop” before tackling more behind-the-scenes work. Sick For Toys is a collaboration between Delco Cut Productions and Nine Ten Films, and it’s a Christmas tale of terror that’s currently available on most digital outlets (Amazon, iTunes, Playstation) courtesy of Freestyle Digital Media. The film follows Roy, a young man searching for his missing friend. While out and about, he runs into a young woman named Emilia. The pair hit it off and Roy accepts a dinner invitation at her house, only to discover her brother, Edward, is going to be an active participant in their date. When it becomes apparent that the twisted siblings are up to no good, it’s already too late and Roy is caught in the spiders’ web. A crime-drama intricately mixed with psychological horror, Camille Montgomery, Justin Xavier, David Gunning, Melanie Thompson, Jon Paul Burkhart and Morgana Shaw star in Sick For Toys, now available on digital retailers courtesy of Freestyle Entertainment and DevilWorks.
Produced by Justin James and written by Justin Xavier based on the story by James Andrew Oster, Sick for Toys has a pretty sinister concept that’s executed without going overboard. Two equally fucked up siblings kidnap young men, for two completely different purposes, and the sister tortures them in a garage decorated for Christmas; literally using their bodies as living toys. The psychological torture is just as bad as the physical injuries in this case, and the emotional cartwheels Emilia goes through are disturbing in their stark realism. What’s so frightening about Sick for Toys is that it’s based in reality – this could happen to anyone. There’s no masked killer, no chair throwing ghost, no flying shark. Just two severely damaged people attacking innocent people because of their deep, emotional scars. Besides a few gory shots and suspenseful moments, that’s as horrific as this title gets. It’s definitely more of a mix of crime, drama, and psychological elements than horror. But that’s OK with me because the Christmas horror genre needs a more subdued title to add to its catalog.
Adding to the many layers of depth, Sick for Toys also delicately navigates the subject of male rape, which is often completely ignored by cinema makers and viewers. There’s two instances in the film where this is addressed, and it’s done so without being super graphic. What a screwed up Christmas, and that’s even before Emilia and Edward start burying bodies in the backyard. Edited by Mimi Snow and featuring cinematography by Ryan A. Verbel, Sick for Toys is a crazy weird holiday horror flick that’s rich in story and high in suspense. It’s slow, but ominous, and captivating all in the right places. Well made and fantastically acted, this turned out to be an early Christmas present for sure. I can’t find any criticisms with this movie at all because it’s fully actualized, cohesive, and produced with expert precision. Find it on most digital retailers now, or get your stream started when December kicks off. Either way, you’re in for a dark and bizarre, emotionally draining good time. Final Score: 7.5 out of 10.