Dorothy (UK - BD RB)
Marcus feels that this evil babysitter gets a bit of a rough deal. She's no Regan...
When psychiatrist Jane Van Dopp (Carice van Houten) sees a newspaper article about a young girl who has harmed a child while babysitting, she gets herself assigned to the case and hops on a ferry to the small Irish island where the heinous act took place.
After being driven off the road by two speeding cars, Jane finds herself the centre of attention within the small community and when she gets to meet young Dorothy Mills (Jenn Murray), she soon discovers why the town is acting so strangely.
Take a look at the cover for this movie. Go on. “The Modern Day Exorcist” slogan, Omen-esq demonic kid on the sleeve, a rather satanic looking cross in the ‘O’ of Dorothy. Whoever okayed this artwork has painfully short changed this movie and what is being sold as a satanic grisly horror actually misrepresents the small, unsettling drama that’s more to do with sadness than it is possession.
With the brilliant Carice van Houten (providing a hybrid between her character’s Irish accent and her own native Dutch accent—sort of distracting in places) leading us through her investigation, we’re shown Dorothy’s 'condition' in a pretty down to earth light. Never is the concept of possession rammed down our throat, but is instead presented as a split personality disorder (for the most part) and rather impressively by first time film actress Jenn Murray, who’s performance as Dorothy is not someone to be scared of but really someone to feel very sorry for.
Of course, Dorothy throws out the usual creepy stuff with our lead character talking in a man’s voice and spouting lots of naughty words to shock the audience, but for me this never slipped into the realms of horror but more a fairly spooky ghost story much akin to an X-Files episode (in fact van Houten actually reminded me a lot of Scully).
With almost the entire town having some hand in Dorothy’s condition, the slow burning, fairly typical tale has its high and low points without ever getting boring. The strands all weave together nicely and even though I found myself a couple of steps ahead of the big revelation at the end of the movie, Dorothy still hits a satisfying peak before wrapping things up.
With a clean image and the slimmest layer of grain, there’s not much to complain about with Dorothy’s transfer, other than it's a little humdrum. Stylistically speaking, the colours here are meant to be drab and small town realistic, so there’s no escaping the blandness. However I was impressed with many of the scenes being lower lit than what you’d expect. A lot of moments felt more ominous and confined because of the lower lighting and luckily the transfer didn’t suffer, which would have ruined the desired effect I think.
Daytime shots feel about as drab as you’d expect from an Irish island in cold weather, with the green grass struggling to get noticed in the greyness and overcast skies. Clothes and skin textures are well presented without showing off and when colour does slip into a shot (usually via blood of some kind) it makes for quite a noticeable change to the visuals. All in all, Dorothy is a slightly above average transfer, mainly due to its good black levels but it’s really nothing to get excited about.
The first half of the movie opts for an ominous score floating about the place and the instruments find their home quite well in the surrounds, making for quite a full track. This soon makes way for dialogue which is placed in the front speakers and does an okay job, however I did notice quite a bit of hiss in places, especially the closing scene.
Beyond that, there’s not a lot to report. There’s one rather harsh gunshot that didn’t sound all that realistic and there’s not too much else to lift the track above the fairly straight forward dialogue presentation with the odd bit of weather ambience.
The French making of (26:54 SD) is fairly typical but has a few great moments between Carice van Houten and Jenn Murray on set. There’s a few interesting details about the French produced film that was filmed in Ireland with a Dutch star and a bit of insight into the story but generally nothing too spectacular.
The only other extra is the movie's trailer.
Without giving anything away, because the main draw of the movie is finding out exactly what’s going on with this strange girl, Dorothy sort of reminded me of The Orphanage, in that its outer layer is creepy but at heart it’s about wrong doings and putting things right.
I doubt it’ll rock anyone’s world too much but Dorothy provides a solid ghost story that is more worried about characters than it is the scares and I for one appreciated that. It's well worth checking out but don't believe what the cover is trying to sell you.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 10th May 2010
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 English, LCPM 2.0 English
Extras: Making of, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Agnès Merlet
Cast: Carice van Houten, Jenn Murray
Genre: Drama and Horror
Length: 101 minutes