Love Object
2004
This horror movie follows introverted technical writer Kenneth (Desmond Harrington), who can't bring himself to reveal his feelings for co-worker Lisa (Melissa Sagemiller). Attempting to get over his fear, he purchases a realistic doll named Nikki that looks like Lisa and eventually works up the nerve to talk to his dream girl. Unfortunately, the doll soon becomes jealous of Kenneth's affection for Lisa and reveals her violent tendencies.

Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

This film is reminiscent of last year's "May" for its exploration of a morbid sexual fetish in the terms of a cinematic genre. What gives this film a tremendous boost are its artistic aspirations, with a score of rich classical music and a d.p. who likes to play with film grain and repeated imagery. There's no denying the high degree of professional polish on this low-budget indie shocker, but look past the surface and you see a film that is only feigning confidence in the material; the cheap jokes and contrived scenarios are cracks in the wall, with the obnoxious detective and his 18 bullets being especially incongruous. But there's a very good film here for most of its running time, with a commanding lead performance by Desmond Harrington (I loved his nervousness when offering to write a manual for free), and willingness to consider his fetish and its consequences from numerous perspectives. This is a must-see for fans of the psychological thriller. (Ignore the Netflix description that misrepresents the plot.)

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