Dorothy Mills (2008) Movie Review
Written By: YN
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Agnès Merlet
Producers: Jérôme Lateur
Writers: Juliette Sales and Agnes Merlet
Date Released: August 6, 2008
Carice van Houten as Jane Van Dopp
Jenn Murray as Dorothy Mills
David Wilmot as Colin Garrivan
Ger Ryan as Eileen McMahon
David Ganly as Aiden Kearsley
Gary Lewis as Pastor Ross
Charlene McKenna as Mary McMahon
Sean Stewart as Duncan McClellan
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Psychologist Jane Morton journeys to an islandic town to study the case of Dorothy Mills, a girl who is said to have choked a baby that she’s supposed to be babysitting. Jane’s arrival on the island doesn’t go well when she’s stalked by three rowdy teenagers and leered at by the men. As she spends time with Dorothy, however, she discovers that the girl seems to be suffering from a split personality disorder. But the townspeople oppose Jane’s views, claiming that Dorothy is a liar. Others, on the other hand, believes that she’s God’s angel who reconnects them with their dead loved ones. Whatever is the truth, Jane is certain Dorothy needs help and the town is hiding something from her.
The film contains graphic scenes of gutted animals. These scenes are bloody, messy and buzzing with flies. The act of killing is never explicitly shown in the movie, but there is one scene where a group of men played with the bloody carcass of a sheep. Another instance of gore includes a person shooting himself in the head.
The Grave Review
Dorothy Mills (2008) is a psycho-thriller movie that reels you in with a mystery and a smidge of the supernatural. If there’s one thing that will really leave a mark on you with this movie, it will be Jenn Murray’s (Dorothy Mills) haunting performance. The shifts in her personality, voice, body language and facial expressions capture a wide range that makes her performance believable without being too contrived. The story itself can also hold your attention because of the intricate mysteries that are scattered around. It’s greatest weakness, however, is the convenient revelation scene towards the end of the film. As the movie scrambles to tie loose ends, it resorts to taking the easy way out.
The horror factory in the film is downplayed, but the tension is so palpable that there never seems to be a moment where you will feel at ease. The film’s general atmosphere is foreboding and bleak. This is further highlighted by how isolated, wind beaten and desolate the place itself is. Likewise, the way the film arranged the scenes, dialogues and interactions among the characters hint of the hostility and discomfort among them that it will make you feel wary of them in turn.
But what really shines through this film is the Murray’s performance as the titular Dorothy Mills. In fact, she won several awards for this role alone. Her ability to quickly change character in one instant to the next is astounding and believable. Half of the suspense is mainly from her performance alone. It also helps that there is something about her face that rings the warning bells inside your head. The rest of the cast has also showcased a decent performance, but Murray easily outshines them all.
The mystery surrounding Dorothy will keep you on your toes until the very end. You are not quite sure if her affliction is real, fabricated or something else entirely. The pacing of the movie feels slow at times with very little action going on. The story focuses more on dialogues and Jane’s interaction with the rest of the townspeople. This means there are some introspective scenes that may seem boring at first glance. So for those who wants a more exciting, action-packed film to watch, this might not be for you.
While the set up of the mysteries in Dorothy Mills (2008) is effective, the revelation towards the end is anticlimactic. You just have one of Dorothy’s “personalities” explaining everything to the whole townsfolk like a badly scripted hero movie where the villain makes a speech about his grand plan before killing the hero. Albeit the events before the big reveal are the most thrilling the movie gets where Jane is seemingly haunted by her dead son (and a few more dead teenagers), and Duncan, a violent personality inside Dorothy, is becoming more and more in control of her body. But to have everything laid done and explained in one go feels cheap and rushed. While the signs have been there in the beginning, it could have been nicer if Jane comes to the truth by herself so that the reveal will feel more organic and satisfying.
Nonetheless, Dorothy Mills (2008) is still an interesting watch. It may not be action-packed or heart-pounding, but it’ll still leave you feeling unease and haunted.
With these reasons, Grave Reviews gives Dorothy Mills (2008) gives four graves out of five graves.
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