The bulk of this story is wonderfully perverse & exceptionally captivating as we follow the life of an office dweeb (Desmond Harrington) into his very private life with his blow-up rubber sex doll, Nikki.
He treats her well; he seems really to love her; it's almost touching except for being so pathetic & insane. At times it even appears to be insightful, so that those of us who really can't imagine getting it on with a sex doll gain some degree of pity or understanding for such a lonely fellow's deviant passion.
The doll is a stand-in for Kenneth the Dweeb's coworker Lisa (Melissa Sagemiller) who he is afraid to approach with his interest. But as the promise of a relationship with a living woman develops, Kenneth begins to have a violent falling out with his doll. It's rich in black humor, but never outright comedy which might've undermined the grotesque credibility of the character.
The psychological dementedness of the tale, as the doll becomes first Kenneth's beloved, then his dominatrix, & finally his enemy, has an edge of brilliance in the writing & the acting. At first he attempts to make the doll seem more like Lisa but then when involved with Lisa tries to make her become more like the doll. It's all just so sick & delightfully nutso.
Udo Kier as the prissy apartment manager sticking his nose where it doesn't belong lends further delight to the film. In the DVD extras it is revealed that Udo had suggested his character have pet rats with which to broaden (or perhaps camp up) his portrait of the prissy manager. But the director foolishly vetoed Udo's idea & made him a collector of figurines instead. Though it could've been even more eccentricly wonderful if the director had more valued Udo's input, he nevertheless makes a great deal out of a marginal role. It was great fun to watch his performance, & the director was damned lucky to have his talents on board.
But as the climax approaches it turns into a mere slasher as Kenneth just wants to kill Lisa so he can screw her preserved corpse, the script suddenly confusing a sex doll fetish for necrophilia. The film completely loses its imagination & turns into a fairly workmanlike torture-the-girl gore film with no more surprises or innovations remaining.
It has an ending that seems finally to be imposed by the misogyny of the writer rather than the likely outcome for these characters. I'd otherwise have said this approached being classic psycho horror if the ending hadn't been such a failure of imagination. But even with the ruinous flaw of a completely unsatisfactory climax, it's way better than average cheesy horror film, & really a must-see.
The better ending, by the way, would've kept the doll in the story. The doll should somehow have destroyed the psycho (or rather, he destroys himself blaming the doll) with the Real Girl the surviving witness rather than the victim of Kenneth's catastrophic madness. Orchestrating that might've resulted in a film original from start to finish rather than a film that ran plum out of ideas before concluding.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl