Nov 30, 2018
Welcome back to the podcast. This will be the second of two episodes today as we’re working to get caught up from the fire. I’ll be continuing my story from the wildfire evacuation in a minute, but if you haven’t heard the earlier segments, hit pause, then go back to my review for “Outlaw King” (Episode #314) for the first segment, then listen every episode after that for another installment. Let me know you’re listening by sharing this episode with #WelcomeBackOMP.
Last segment, my spouse and I scrambled to repack in the face of a potential flare-up, then waited for more information about the flare up. We were binging “Veep”, and then eventually it was time to head out and pick up our daughter from school, having heard nothing much yet in terms of the flare up, other than “be ready just in case”. She was doing really well, all things considered, even as I figured that there were plenty of school districts reconsidering their decisions to have class today. They picked up some supplies on their way back home, and she repacked everything she thought she might need. It was weird walking through the house we had just put back together, and seeing everything packed up again, but I guess this is the new normal. After we were ready to leave, if needed, we sat together as a family, ate some dinner, then caught up on “Riverdale” and “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”. No, not today’s film, but the show. And then we got the word from the school districts that school would be closed tomorrow as well.
More on the story from the fire tomorrow.
Today’s movie is “Sabrina” (2018), the Netflix Original horror film directed by Rocky Soraya and written for the screen by Fajar Umbara and Riheam Junianti. The film follows Maira (Luna Maya), who lives with Aiden (Christian Sugiono), with their adopted daughter (and niece) Vanya (Richelle Georgette Skornicki). When Vanya discovers a game that allows people to contact the dead, she attempts to summon the spirit of her birth mother, but instead summons another spirit who inhabits a doll named Sabrina, and is looking for revenge.
That’s it. I’m done with Rocky Soraya. Between this film and “The 3rd Eye” (Episode #276), I think I’ve seen all I need to. And what’s doubly worse is that today’s film is actually the third film in a series of supernatural doll possessions, itself a played out genre, but the plots for all three films are nearly identical. The sets are too well lit. The story somehow manages to have an obligatory twist. It actually made me wonder if this film, and the rest of the series, are just some elaborate effort to launder money, but then I realized I’ve been watching too much “Get Shorty”. Or maybe not enough?
“Sabrina”, in a word, is awful. Our story begins with an opening scene involving a possession that pulls from virtually every other possession film, with an angry spirit inhabiting a body, and a pair of spiritualists working to exorcise the demon. And then we’re at school with Vanya, struggling with the loss of her mother, and seeing a kid playing a Ouija like game that can answer yes or no questions. Vanya summons her mother, or so she thinks, and the spirit inhabits the Sabrina doll, a second edition of the doll featured in “The Doll 2”, the second film to feature the same doll, who looks like Weird Al Yankovic wearing a freaky-ass mask, a resemblance that only grows when the demon somehow manifests. The special effects are hit or miss, but mostly hit, when the lighting isn’t too bright for the tone. And speaking of tone, it can’t keep a standard tone throughout the film at all.
Oh, we’re not done yet. While I was watching this film, I felt it was about to wrap-up, so I started making notes, giving it a score, and then when it didn’t seem to end, I checked how much time was left. Another thirty minutes. Because I had forgotten we needed to get an obligatory twist, which flashes back to the original possession and expands the story, showing that one of the other characters actually summoned the demon originally, and we need to have this divergent path for the rest of the film, until everything is wrapped up. Or is it? Because, you know, movie three, and the second in a deal that Rocky Soraya apparently has with Netflix. If the film had as much self-awareness as, say, “Z Nation”, I might have been able to get into it. But it takes itself extremely seriously, and ends up being wholly unenjoyable. And long. Two hours long. Ugh.
“Sabrina” (2018) is the last Rocky Soraya film I will willingly watch, unless someone else tells me something has changed. I’m sure I will eat those words next year, but there it is. It is the third film in a doll possession series, with no signs of stopping, and no signs of creating anything new for the franchise or the genre. Fans of doll possession series or folks who love to hate watch, should definitely check out this film. Everyone else, take a hard pass.
Rotten Tomatoes: NR
One Movie Punch: 4.8/10
“Sabrina” (2018) is rated TV-MA and is currently streaming on Netflix.