SICK FOR TOYS is the feature-length directorial debut of David Del Rio, starring Camille Montgomery as Emilia, a child-like woman with an obsession with Christmas and getting new “toys”. When his friend Jason (co-writer Justin Xavier) goes missing, Roy (David Gunning) goes to investigate at his apartment and finds Emilia’s phone number. This leads to Roy meeting Emilia, and despite all warning signs and odd behavior by her, decides it would be a good idea to go to dinner at her house with her brother, Edward (Jon Paul Burkhart) (warning sign people!).
Unfortunately, this move is disjointed, doesn’t follow much of a narrative and features no shock, suspense or turning point. The film reveals Emilie and Edward as depraved kidnappers immediately in the first scene without leaving us to wonder about the dynamic between the two. Every time I thought the film may surprise me, every time it set itself up for good twist, surprise or reveal, it fell flat on it’s own accord. David Gunning is stilted and awkward as Roy, who is ultimately a very ineffective character whose only purpose is to deliver the viewer to the home of Emilia and Edward.
The director attempts to explain the relationship between the siblings and their reasons for doing what they do, but there is no complexity to their characters. They try to saddle them with every motivation in the book: molestation, isolation, raising themselves after their parents died but do so in such a dry way that you never feel any sympathy for them. None of the other characters are very sympathetic either, with Jason being a womanizing cheater and Roy being a shell of a person with no depth or complexity. The movie culminates in a confusing scene that only serves to frustrate the viewer.
In an effort to say something positive, I will point out the one shining star in the film, which is Camille Montgomery’s performance within the bounds of the role. Camille flows effortlessly between childlike wonder and curiosity and psychopath in a very believable way. Her acting skills are evident and under-utilized. I look forward to seeing her in more effective roles in the future.
All in all, SICK FOR TOYS was an interesting premise that didn’t offer the suspense or twists that the genre requires.
SICK FOR TOYS is now available to own on Digital and VOD.