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‘Marionette’ review: Creepy kid horror has a deeper story to tell

Good addition to the “creepy kid” sub-genre.

Marionette is a horror movie with an interesting premise. Marianne Winter (Thekla Reuten) is a child therapist who begins seeing a new patient named Manny (Elijah Wolf). Things take a dark turn when the boy tells Marianne he can control her future and become even worse when his horrific drawings start coming true. 

Creepy kid movies are a sub-genre of horror that has been explored many times. They are popular for good reason. As non supernatural villains go, few are as scary as a strange kid. Marionette leans into this immediately. Manny is hostile, mean spirited, and frightening. 

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On the receiving end of the majority of the vitriol is Marianne. Moving to a new country after a divorce, she is vulnerable to Manny’s onslaught. As Marionette progresses, things become more difficult for her. The film is not just about a freaky little boy. It is a psychological horror that examines a damaged person. 

It is an interesting premise that is a departure from the norm. There is more to the plot than a creepy kid terrorizing an adult. The movie’s willingness to explore different themes makes for a more exciting story. Marionette is not content to settle for jump scares and moody lighting. 

This does not mean the film lacks atmosphere. Setting Marionette in Scotland not only lends itself to some beautiful shots, it leads to moments that have an almost Gothic quality to them. The tension and paranoia is high and things never get too predictable. 

In order to keep audiences guessing, the film adds discussions about theology and philosophy into the mix. This succeeds in keeping anyone watching off balance, but it also leads to Marionette running long. The twist heavy final act adds to this feeling. 

Still, it is an entertaining watch. While it has some familiar elements, Marionette manages to stay interesting and keep surprising the audience. Atmospheric and beautifully shot, it provides more than the expected creeps.

Marionette comes to VOD and Digital January 21

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