Directed by: #MarkDenham
Once upon a time, a boy and a girl met. They like torture, pain and screams.
If you like grimy, messed up murder dramas that lack any amount of real meaning or feeling, Toy Box Killers is your best choice. Structurally fatiguing, with very little character depth or intrigue, this barbaric flick from filmmaker Mark Denham plays on what I presume to be an itch for bloody and torturous stories. In creating this feature-length grim tale of two crazed killers, he uses incredibly low-budget techniques — if you could call it that — to capture all the action. Disappointingly, it’s hard to tell if this is meant to be filmed with a documentary/fly-on-the-wall style, or it’s just an unintentional blocking nightmare.
Characters, beyond their lacking personalities, feel awfully lifeless due to the camerawork, the forced script and the mostly poor delivery by the actors. There are some scenes where the performances come across fairly decent, but for the most part, this is a painful viewing experience. To expand on this; the torture scenes are just ludicrous. I understand the goal is to bring out a feeling of unease, an uncomfortable energy. While this does happen, it’s born out of all the wrong reasons. The aforementioned script damages the execution of these scenes to a degree that makes the entire film, to put it plainly, boring.
Toy Box Killers is like a student film that was put together as practice for an end-of-year grade, with plenty of expected notes and criticism. It feels like Denham is a fan of Natural Born Killers and wanted to make his own murderous rampage film, except the latter managed to do a better job in all aspects. Where that had exciting visuals with an insane number of cuts in the edit, and interesting characters — which made the film more entertaining for a wider audience — Toy Box Killers has laughable writing and cringe-worthy performances. Unfortunately, even the technical features add a heavier toll; the sound is haphazardly recorded and compiled, the edit is uninteresting, and the music chopped in wherever they felt it was necessary, to no affect.
It’s expected that a film focusing on torture would be a hard watch, but this was undoubtedly one of the most torturous experiences I’ve had watching a film.
Watch the trailer for Toy Box Killers below.