The Indonesian Annabelle universe scares up a treat for the horror community in Sabrina, and earns the award for Creepiest Doll of the Year.
Sabrina is an Indonesian horror from director Rocky Soraya and is the next chapter in The Doll franchise, starring Sara Wijayantom, who has been part of the franchise from the start, Luna Maya who joined the franchise in the second film, and newcomer to the series Christian Sugiono (Rasa).
Sabrina’s story follows psychic Laras (Wijayanto) being called back into action after the niece of a dollmaker (Sugiono) tries to make contact with her late mother, which brings a spirit to her family home, taking over a Sabrina doll, which starts to haunt Maira (Maya). The family must get rid of the evil spirit before it starts taking lives.
When we look at the elements in play for this story, we get the clear message that a child who loses their parent (in this case their mother, as we don’t learn about the father) will struggle with the grief; however much love gets thrown their way, they will turn to isolation for comfort and if offered a supernatural solution for the return of their mother they will take it. This side of the story is, of course, used to pump up the horror elements in the film, which does focus on another version of the Ouija Board: the Charlie Charlie game, which is a lot more accessible to play. One highlight from the storytelling comes from the idea of an “Entity Detector” app that Vanya uses to search for the entity that she believes is her mother; it shows us how technology has changed in the ghost-hunting side of the story. We don’t need a massive team, we only need one iPad.
Let’s talk about the horror. The game Charlie Charlie has become some sort of internet craze over recent years, and it was only a matter of time before it became a crucial part in a horror movie, much like how the Ouija Board has been for years. Using the game to bring a spirit to the world is always going to be interesting and the slow build to what the spirit actually is works for the horror. The young girl believes it is her mother and befriends the spirit, which continues to give it power, and the idea of the App that hunts entities only builds up the tension for the audience, who get an element of found-footage without the need for shaky-cam. We do get the scares required to make us jump, and if you are a fan of the horror being what is going on behind characters this will appeal, meaning you will need to watch the whole screen at all times. It would also be fair to compare certain factors of Sabrina to Annabelle because of the heavy use of the doll, which I might also point out is one of the creepiest dolls I have ever seen in any film: those eyes! The weakness for Sabrina comes in the final third, where we do seem to abandon the doll side of the horror and jump into full possession, which feels like Ghostface trying to catch the victims.
The acting in Sabrina is strong, and it does give us the chance to see returning faces if you have seen the previous films. As with most horrors, it doesn’t need to be award-calibre because it’s all about the reaction to the horrors going on, and for the third chapter in a “Universe” this doesn’t disappoint.
Overall Sabrina does give us a new view of how a different culture will deal with the possession of a family. It has good horror moments that will give you a jump, it has the creepiest doll you have ever seen, and it will wisely tell you never to play internet crazes like Charlie Charlie.
Darren starting writing for films at Movies Reviews 101. He joined the Ready Steady Cut team in 2018 and is a proud member of the LAMB (Large Association of movie bloggers).