From The Omen, to Village of the Damned and Children of the Corn, there are countless horror movies out there that focus on creepy children. The key of course for all of them is finding the right young actor or actress who can appear to be cute and creepy at the same time. Marionette succeeds in doing just that, but unfortunately there are other problems in the film that prevent it from being a classic.
Marianne Winter (Thekla Reuten, Warrior Nun) has relocated to Scotland as she looks to restart her life after the death of her husband. She’s a child therapist who is hoping to use her loss as a way to help her patients. But when she meets Manny (newcomer Elijah Wolf) she starts to wonder how much help she can offer. Manny is a troubled youth who claims that he can control people’s futures, even Marianne’s. And he seems to have an insight into her life that he shouldn’t have.
Manny’s powers manifest through his artwork, and he has a way of getting into people’s heads with it. Marianne questions whether Manny actually is responsible for the grisly fates of the people he claims to control. But her own fractured life is preventing her from seeing the truth. The biggest question is, will she be able to push past the darkness surrounding her. Or will she allow Manny to push her over the edge.
Without the right actor playing Manny, Marionette wouldn’t work because on the surface the plot is silly and unbelievable. As I say this, Wolf manages to creep the audience out with his hostile attitude. He pulls you in, making you want to ride the film out to see how it ends. This is a mark of an actor with a strong future ahead of him, but even he can’t make a movie work on his own. The film drags on for a little too long, and leaves the audience hanging for more than it should. What is surprising, is the overall lack of character development in such a long winded film. You really don’t have any emotional attachment to anyone, which is necessary for this genre.
Overall Marionette has some great moments, including the moody gothic backdrop of Scotland. The thriller will keep you guessing until the end while making some unexpected choices. But the ending is a little too wrapped up in a bow to make it satisfying. It’s always a shame to see a film with so much potential have a hard time with making things flow a little better.