Plot: Jenny (Suzie Frances Garton) is convinced it is time to let their housekeeper Agatha (Judith Haley) find a new position, as she is older and seems to be slipping in her duties, not to mention the financial aspect. But her son Gene is so fond of Agatha, so it is a tough decision, but she sticks to her guns and fires the housekeeper. Agatha is displeased with this turn of events, but she presents Gene with a farewell present, a new friend to help replace the one he has lost. The gift is a doll named Robert and as soon as he arrives, some unusual things begin to happen around the house. At first small incidents, such as furniture being disturbed or strange noises are experienced, but Jenny is certain this is just Gene acting out a little. But he insists that he isn’t responsible, instead it is Robert that is causing all of the problems. Is Gene just coping with this loss of his friend Agatha or is Robert more than just a simple doll?
Entertainment Value: Based on the real life doll that inspired countless possessed doll stories, Robert is a low budget production, but offers solid atmosphere and some more than creepy moments. I appreciated the focus on the mental breakdown of Jenny, as it not only helped create some minor paranoia, but her preexisting mental issues helped mask Robert’s actions in the narrative. This is not a Child’s Play or Puppet Master style horror movie, as the doll itself isn’t that active on screen, but the movie is inventive and engineers some eerie situations. I know some will be let down that Robert is so passive in his own movie, but I have to think budget limitations were the cause, as even when the doll does take action, it is simple and minor movements. But to me, the real draw is the passable psychological thread around Jenny, as that powers the movie and the overall atmosphere is decent in this one. The deliberate pace and lack of more horror elements are likely to leave some viewers unsatisfied, however. Robert has some issues, but I think it is a solid haunted doll installment.
No nakedness. If you hoped for a wild fling between Robert and Agatha, you should know that level of volcanic passion can’t be contained in one mere motion picture, so no luck there. A tiny bit of blood, but not much. The movie uses jump scares, loud noises, and creepiness to deliver the horror elements, but not much violence and when there is some, it happens off screen. So a little crimson is present, but honestly almost none and the movie only turns violent toward the finale. But the lack of blood isn’t much of an issue, as the movie is more about dread and atmosphere, which means the need for bloodshed isn’t as prominent. The dialogue is mostly forgettable, but Jenny’s mental issues and paranoia are fun to watch, as it leads to some dysfunctional exchanges now and then. Not much craziness here, as the movie maintains a serious tone and doesn’t embrace camp or wackiness.
Overall Insanity: 0/10