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13 Dolls in Darkness
13 Dolls in Darkness (2017)
  • Director:
    Zeda Müller
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Zeda Müller
  • Cast:
    Hanika Nankervis,Monique Boyd,Alysha Casey
  • Time:
    1h 15min
  • Budget:
    AUD 250
  • Year:
A young woman returns home after 13 years to her sick mother's crumbling hillside mansion and finds murder and swift death lurking in the dark.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Hanika Nankervis Hanika Nankervis - Marjorie
Monique Boyd Monique Boyd - Lana
Alysha Casey Alysha Casey - Charlotte
Darcie Reid Darcie Reid - Sofia
Aaron Ludorf Aaron Ludorf - Priest
Michael Langlands Michael Langlands - Farmhand
Jess Mionnet Jess Mionnet - Girl from the Inn
Daniel Brooks Daniel Brooks - Papa
Julie Young Julie Young - Mother
Amy Waite Amy Waite - Nursemaid
Cassie Smith Cassie Smith - Barmaid
Dion Ludorf Dion Ludorf - Young Marjorie
J.R. Hall J.R. Hall - John
Jordi Miles Jordi Miles - Girlfriend
Dallas Mionnet Dallas Mionnet - Inn Folk #1

13 Dolls in Darkness (2017)

Officially selected for the American Horrors Film Festival in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin U.S.A. October 27th & 28th 2017. Also selected for the 10th Annual San Antonio Horrific Film Festival in San Antonio, Texas U.S.A. October 20 - 22nd 2017. Was nominated in the BEST HORROR category film by MEDFF (The Mediterranean Film Festival) Italy October 31st 2017 and director, Zeda Müller won the JURY SPECIAL MENTION for her realization of the film at the Montevideo Fantastico Film Festival in Uruguay, December 2017.

Even if you didn't know how director Zeda Müller had once phoned Italy from her home in Australia as a child to try and get in contact with Dario Argento, within minutes of 13 Dolls in Darkness, you know this is someone who loves and knows the horror genre inside out.

13 Dolls in Darkness' opening scene could be from any number of slasher films of the 1980s; a couple in the woods are making out until someone shows up with a pitchfork, on paper at least, and this is the really clever part, it's put together like a silent film! Seeing so many familiar elements from different decades of the horror genre mixed together puts a huge grin on your face.

It's not all smiles though, the silent film angle makes one scene later on, even that more shocking. And the doll motif is suitably creepy and at times even manages to top many of the giallo films it's paying homage to. A shower scene is also worth mentioning for it's clever use of misdirection.

I really hope 13 Dolls in Darkness finds an audience, as Zeda Müller clearly loves the genre and I'd like to see what she could do with a bigger budget and that twisted imagination of hers!
Austrailian director Zeda Müller gets one of the cardinal rules of rising above the no-budget indiefilm muck: if you're going to do something on the cheap, you need to make it memorable and you need to have an angle.

13 Dolls in Darkness stands alone in the world of horror films because of its unique take on the genre tropes of 70s giallos and 80s slashers. It is shot in the style of German expressionist silent film, complete with title cards in lieu of recorded dialogue.

The film will be challenging to some viewers in the same way that watching (real) old silent films can be challenging: the contrasty, flickering images can be a bit washed out (in this case, intentionally), and the lack of dialogue and diegetic sound make it difficult to follow unless you are paying close attention -- in other words, you can't put this thing on as background noise -- it demands attention. In the case of this film, I'd say the attention is warranted. The camera angles and composition are compelling and the story, while intentionally trope-heavy, is interesting if you are a giallo fan.

It's pretty fun to see these tropes and actual gore played out as if it were shot in the early 20th century. The only differences between this film and a 20s era film are the use of some pre-recorded sound effects (church bells, trains, door creaks, etc -- not unlike what you may have heard in an old radio show from that era), and much of the music has a more modern "sound-design" feel -- more typical of modern horror than anything from the silent film era. That might be one of my few criticisms of this film: I found myself wishing for a melodramatic piano score, more in line with what you would associate with silent film. Additionally, I would have liked to have seen this done in period costumes as opposed to some of the more modern costume choices, but I'm assuming Müller was being intentionally anachronistic.

Müller is a new filmmaker and certainly one to watch. I'd love to see what she could do with a real budget. 13 Dolls in Darkness is worth your time if you are a fan of giallos and slashers, but have no interest in watching your one-millionth no-budget Friday the 13th clone. This film is truly something unique and, while possibly challenging for some viewers, is a perfect example of how clever ideas always trump inflated budgets.
I have been an obsessive fan of horror films since I was a kid (way back in the 70's). Brought up on Hammer and Universal monster films it wasn't long before I delved into pre-cert exploitation films and that is where my preference has been ever since. Over the last 20 years I have felt that the horror genre hasn't really offered its fans anything new (bar a few exceptions). Having been left despondent, disappointed and bored senseless by the over-saturation of remakes, reboots and just plain dull horror fare, it comes with great surprise that a black and white silent film from Australia would be the breath of fresh air that the horror genre desperately needs. The plot of 13 Dolls is pretty straightforward. Marjorie receives a letter from her ailing mother to return home after a 13 year absence. On her return home Marjorie realizes that things are not what they seem... Written and directed by the talented Zeda Müller, this is a film that demands your attention from the start. With its eerie score and moody camera-work it sets a very atmospheric and claustrophobic feel to proceedings. It's a great take on the 'old dark house' horrors of a bygone era, Robert Wiene and Tod Brownings early work spring to mind... yet it draws on influences from the likes of Dario Argento, Mario Bava's Gothic horrors, giallo and slasher films (there are some nicely placed references for the sharp- eyed viewer). The fact that this is a silent film (I'll get to the score in a bit) actually works in its favour. Gone are the usual mundane dialogue pieces that fill out most horror films these days and the viewer is reintroduced to dialogue cards when required to move the story along. This also means that the actors are given room to act through expression and emotion and they all do a sterling job. The masterstroke of 13 Dolls though is the excellent use of camera-work and soundtrack. The soundtrack is interspliced with sound effects (church bells, howling wind, dripping taps etc), moody piano and tension building synths, all used to full sensory effect. The footage and score intertwine brilliantly together and I found some scenes genuinely eerie and creepy (a rare feeling for me whilst watching a new film these days). Overall 13 Dolls is a mesmerizing experience, interspersed with some cleverly executed gore scenes, and at a scant 75 minutes long, it motors along at a cracking pace. So, you have probably guessed that I liked this film a lot. I highly recommend checking it out, especially if you are looking for something different. Shot on a low budget ($200 approximately) it's an outstanding achievement and I for one am looking forward to Zeda Müller & Co's next venture...!
I wasn't sure what to expect with this film and I was pleasantly surprised. Reportedly made on a budget of less than $200 USD, you honestly wouldn't be able to tell by looking at it. The film is black and white with no spoken dialogue with and is very stylishly directed. The kills are violent and sometimes bloody and shot like an Italian Giallo film, usually from the perspective of the killer. One of the deaths took me completely off guard. After that I knew the film was going to be unpredictable. The reveal of the killer is pretty well done and disturbing and the ending is bleak and depressing. Overall 13 Dolls In The Dark is a stylish and well made low budget gem.
Zeda Muller is what the scene needs, a new twist to a old genre given a upgrade ...

Completely left field with what she produced, the colour grading, editing style and how it was achieved was excellent ...

Subject matter was perfect, couldn't ask for anything more in a new wave director bringing fresh eyes to the Aussie Scene ...

Look forward to a bright future for her ????
A brutal murder of a young couple , seems to be the standard opening for any number of generic slasher movies. But, within a few minutes we realise this is no run of the mill horror flick.

A young women walks an empty train station as the constant whir and click of an old movie projector along with a dreamy, chilling and darkly haunting score act as our soundtrack. She returns to her hometown after 13 years of being away to attend to her sick mother.. and that's probably all you need to know going into this beautiful and mesmerising film.

To give away the plot would of course , deny the viewer from the utter pleasure and unique vision of 13 Dolls in Darkness.

Shot and edited in a style reminiscent of Dr Caligari and less well know silent chiller, The Hands of Orlac from director Robert Wiene, along with nods to the classic Giallo directors of the 60's and 70's, director Zeda Muller frames every shot with meticulous details and some striking black and white cinematography. The fact that it is a silent film with only dialogue cards appearing to move us along the plot, should not be something to keep you from watching the film. As you are drawn in by the visuals , you come to realise, this is the perfect medium to enjoy the film and personally, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Zeda Muller brings her unique talent front and center in the world filled with 4k spectacle and grand sweeping cinematic movements. Proving that simplicity and talent can still offer the world of horror something truly special.

Turn off the lights, open a bottle of your favourite tipple and enjoy one of the best horror films I have seen in recent years.

13 Dolls in Darkness, is highly recommended. See it when you can.
Zeda Müller is an independent filmmaker who not only directed but also wrote 13 Dolls In Darkness.

First of all, I have to admit I love silent films, particularly the thrillers from Germany so 13 Dolls has everything that lovers of movies will enjoy. That was part of the reason why 13 Dolls was such a joy to watch. That and the eerie feel that makes this movie so compelling and keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat.

It also has a tightly plotted script along with excellent camera work and story that builds atmosphere while giving nothing away until the very last frame. Coupled with some fine performances from the actors and quite a few scary scenes, this film is sure to become a well-deserved classic.

I love the way this movie harks back to the days when filmmaking was still truly an art, all while being refreshingly original. Zeda Müller is a rare and wonderful talent indeed and we need more filmmakers like this.
Zeda Müller is a independent film director that has created something that everyone in the modern world needs to watch and experience for themselves to be able to appreciate the art of horror in a different way. Zeda Müller has been able to do something I thought was near impossible, she surprised me with the grip this incredible silent film has on you, making you focus on the brilliant storyline which makes you question what is going to happen next. Without to many spoilers, a young woman is going to see her sick mother after 13 years and once she arrives shortly after is when it all takes a distorted turn for the worst as she is faced with a horrible looming fete. The twisted deaths throughout 13 dolls in darkness is what I want to see in a classic horror. I loved how this film is in black and white which helps enforce the fear as the shadows, doll eyes and the sound effects make your skin crawl. The visuals are in so much detail that you are glued to the screen. Zeda Müller has a real rare talent for the classic blood, gore horror scene and it needs to be seen! Horror lovers put 13 Dolls in Darkness on your to watch list for 2017.
Yes, it's a silent film so don't let that put you off from checking this out. The action and place cards made the story easy to follow and the music added the right amount of dread to the proceedings.The actors took their roles on with great care and added the right amount of professionalism to this project. Yes, there is a good amount of gore to spice it up. If you are looking for something different than the fare being offered today in the horror genre then you owe yourself a look at this soon to be classic.

I look forward to more films from this talented director. Kudos to all involved on making of this masterpiece.