Sabrina: Demonic Doll, Not The Teenage Witch

No, not that Sabrina. Netflix expands its international horror offerings this week with Indonesian movie, Sabrina. And it’s not even about a witch. Instead Sabrina plays as part Annabelle, part Ouija, and part The Conjuring with some Truth or Dare mixed in for good measure. In a year that’s seen international horror movies like Veronica and May The Devil Take You find audiences on Netflix, how does Sabrina fare?

Synopsis

Following the death of her parents, Vanya goes to live with her Uncle Aiden and his new wife, Maira. When Maira struggles to connect with Vanya, Aiden contracts his toy company to produce a second edition of a rare doll for her called Sabrina. In turn, Maira gives the doll to Vanya to be her ‘friend’. But when Vanya tries to contact her mother playing Charlie Charlie, she inadvertently summons an entity that finds a home inside Sabrina.

Sabrina Suffers From Soap Opera Quality Film-Making

Maybe some of you will remember (or have seen) an American daytime soap opera. A couple of them may still be airing on weekday afternoon television. Days of Our Lives even infamously ran with a demonic possession-themed storyline in the 1980’s. Sabrina has the look and feel of those same American daytime soap operas. And no, that’s not intended as a compliment.

Sabrina has the look and feel of an American daytime soap opera. That’s not intended as a compliment. 

There’s an overall ‘cheapie’ feeling that hangs over Sabrina. From the musical score to the picture quality and camera work, this Indonesian horror flick draws unfavourable comparisons to soap opera aesthetics or ’80’s direct-to-video movies. Occasionally, some of the visuals are poor enough to prompt unintentional laughter. Yet it’s not even the grainy low-budget quality that will remind you of 1970’s exploitation horror movies.

Charlie Charlie – Is There an Original Idea in Sabrina?

Imitation is supposed to be a sincere form of flattery. If that’s the case then some of you may consider Sabrina to be an absolute charmer. Director Rocky Soraya wrote the story and Riheam Junianti and Fajar Umbara drafted the screenplay. What these three co-creators have conjured up is an absolute ‘dog’s breakfast’ of a movie. Watching Sabrina will inevitably remind of you of several movies you’d rather be watching. The sheer volume of intellectual property crammed into this movie is breathtaking in its ineptitude. That none of these borrowed ideas ever even accidentally results in a scary moment is almost impressive.

That none of thee borrowed ideas ever even accidentally results in a scary moment is almost impressive.

Perhaps almost as impressive is Sabrina’s unwillingness to commit to any one of these story points. Its creators can’t seem to decide on an identity for their own movie. For the first 30 minutes or so, Sabrina looks like it wants to be a mix of Annabelle and Ouija. They even managed to find a doll that looks uglier than Chucky. But that idea is forgotten an hour into the movie. Soon thereafter we’re drowned in head-scratching supernatural mumbo jumbo before returning to the haunted doll idea. Sabrina’s attention span for its own story is scant.

Sabrina Accomplishes the Incredible Feat of Being Almost Completely Scare-Free

Sabrina isn’t a scary movie. Not even close. As a horror movie, this is an ineffectual mess. But right around the point the movie shamelessly rips offs Lights Out, there was some potential for everything to work as unintentional comedy. For a few minutes, I could almost imagine Sabrina as an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Unfortunately, the movie continues on for almost another 30 minutes, thereby draining even the possibility of cheesy fun. This is almost a two-hour movie that has absolutely no business running for two hours.

Just Watch The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Sabrina is a terrible movie in every way a movie can be terrible. If at least 30 minutes were cut out you might have had something that would make for a good drinking game. But at nearly two hours, Sabrina is more painful chore than guilty pleasure. Do yourself a favour and just binge-watch The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

THE PROFESSOR’S FINAL GRADE: F

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I am a Criminology professor in Canada but I've always had a passion for horror films. Over the years I've slowly begun incorporating my interest in the horror genre into my research. After years of saying I wanted to write more about horror I have finally decided to create my own blog where I can share some of my passion and insights into the films I love.

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