New on DVD: On the Doll

Music video director Thomas Mignone may have been a little over-ambitious with this as his first feature film project. He carries over his established tendency to assail viewers with disturbing images but the flow is fragmented and doesn’t serve the story well.

Tara (Angela Sarafyan) and Melody (Candice Accola) are high school girls that think they know all there is to know about sex and hope to use their knowledge to toy with their teacher Mr. Garrett (Eddie Jemison), but he is way out of their league. Chantel (Shanna Collins) is a call girl supporting her boyfriend’s (Clayne Crawford) unrealized music career. He is also her driver. Jaron (Josh Janowicz) takes ad orders for an adult magazine. When Balery (Brittany Snow) approaches Jaron with the idea of robbing one of her wealthy regulars, he hopes to use his cut to save a girl from the grips of the industry.

Initially, the timeline is confusing as the opening scenes each take place at different points in the story. Once the chronological order is deciphered, it becomes evident certain pieces of the puzzle are missing (some due to cuts as the deleted scenes later reveal). In any case, the film as is feels unfinished.

The cast of up-and-coming young actors is impressive as they are more than competent in their complex roles. However, Mignone’s portrayal of all sex workers as naïve and/or victims of sexual abuse seems somewhat biased to fit his narrative. This is not to say that that is not the case in many instances, but the one strong female character is undermined by her history.

As mentioned earlier, the deleted scenes fill in some holes while the alternate ending, which simply ends sooner than the feature’s, is a better choice. The director’s first and more developed talent is displayed in the included music videos. Finally, there is an in-depth look at the creative process behind the maggot-infested baby bird.

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