DOLL-E: This short film will tell you all about the strengths and weaknesses of Nepali horror films

Screengrab from Doll-E
Screengrab from Doll-E

Two friends, Maney and Ramey, are relaxing on a riverbank; the background score of flowing water adds to their relaxation. It is about dusk and they are looking for a proper place to pitch a tent.

The next day, Maney is worried about reaching their destination on time as they still need to walk long hours. However, Ramey is excited about the remaining journey. Meanwhile, as they start walking, Ramey finds a doll that has messy hair, and scratches on the face, which looks scary.

This is where the real story of this 18-minute short film DOLL-E begins. DOLL-E is introduced as a horror film, but as horror as a genre is still in an experimental phase, the film perfectly shows how this developing industry is good and bad at.

Brilliant cinematography and flawless acting

The best thing about DOLL-E is its cinematography done by Bikesh Magar. The shots and the transitions used in the film are as perfect as they should be for horror films. Likewise, the colour of the film, which is also done by Magar, is equally good. The use of bluish moody and reddish light tones has met the spirit of the horror movie. 

The Nepali film sector has a dearth of horror whether it be short or full-length. There is not even a handful of Nepali horror films that have remarkably entertained and captivated audiences. In such a situation, DOLL-E, directed by Ganesh GD, can be considered a commendable effort in contributing to the horror genre within the Nepali film industry. The film also indicates that Nepali filmmakers have the potential to produce noteworthy horror films.  

Prepare to be amazed by the commendable acting skills of the protagonists in this film, their performances are nothing short of awe-inspiring. From their natural expressions to their flawless delivery of dialogue, they have truly outdone themselves. Their ability to adapt their behaviours and attitudes in accordance with the changing conditions in the script is praiseworthy, especially as the story transitions from excitement to pure horror.

But that is not all that makes DOLL-E worth watching. The background score deserves special recognition. It adds an extra layer of vibrancy and intensity to the entire film. The carefully crafted music enhances every scene, building up suspense and sending chills down your spine. It perfectly complements the visuals, elevating the overall viewing experience to new heights. The combination of outstanding acting and a captivating background score creates a dynamic and immersive atmosphere. 

Weak plot

Screengrab from Doll-E
Screengrab from Doll-E

Despite DOLL-E having various strengths, it also has weaknesses. People who occasionally watch horror films can find this film effective to get the feeling of horror. But for the one who avidly watches horror, this will not work well with them.

The script is weak as one can easily predict the upcoming scenes. It means it might not deliver the same level of fear that you crave, leaving you feeling slightly disappointed. 

The next place where it has failed to meet the expectations of the audience is it has not clearly presented the suspense. For instance, one of the protagonists dies but there is no clear answer how and when it happened and who did it to him. All of a sudden, the dead body is seen on the screen. If these things would have presented properly, the plot could have been stronger. 


Screengrab from Doll-E
Screengrab from Doll-E

Overall DOLL-E is fine to watch, leaving just a few glitches here and there. In the long term, however, this film indicates that there are potential horror filmmakers in Nepal, and if they have a strong command over the script, they can hold the audience captivated and create their mark on the Nepali film industry.

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Prasun Sangroula is an Onlinekhabar correspondent, mainly covering arts, society and sports.

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