Genius Products // 2008 // 102 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 20th, 2009
Evil chose her.
She's cute, blonde, blue-eyed, and is a harbinger of death and pain. Ladies and gentlemen, Dorothy Mills!
When word reaches Jane (Clarice Van Houten), a psychiatrist, about a young girl on an island who nearly kills an infant, she heads off to interview the perpetrator, one Dorothy Mills (Jenn Murray), a girl who has a reputation as a weirdo in the small community. As Jane gets to know the troubled girl, she realizes there's a serious multiple personality issue going on. Dorothy will change personas in an instant, alternating between a small child and promiscuous teen girl and a violent boy.
But what is causing these episodes? Is it neurological? Psychological? Or is the fact that the movie's tagline is "Evil chose her" point to something a bit more metaphysical?
You want a creepy, atmospheric, absorbing dose of psychological terror that may or may not having something to do with the supernatural (fine, it does)? I suggest tracking down this gem. Dorothy Mills weaves an excellent, cryptic story full of satisfying twists, populated by memorable characters and set in a fog-drenched foreign hamlet that keeps way too many secrets.
First things first. Jenn Murray, who lands her first feature gig as the titular character, is simply remarkable. Dorothy Mills is an astonishingly layered persona, and not just because the gig calls for a multitude of personalities to be portrayed. The mystery behind what she is -- or what she's besieged by -- drives the movie, and, frankly Dorothy Mills flies or flounders based on what the actress can do with her. Murray hits it out of the park, and much of the credit for the film's success lies with her performance. She has plenty of complementary help, too, specifically Van Houten's Jane, who could have merely been reduced to a vehicle for exposition, but turns out to be the emotional core of the effort. Then you've got the townsfolk -- colorful to a taxpayer.
All of this fine acting and such would have been wasted had the plot gone nowhere, but there's a great story attached. Obviously, I don't want to go too in depth because the reveals are worth discovering cold turkey, but the writers do an excellent job of keeping things unpredictable; I had no idea how things were going to shake out and the ending was emotionally and creatively satisfying -- though it's not necessarily a pick-me-up.
That's all I really want to say about Dorothy Mills so as to preserve the newness of the experience. Ignore the Exorcist comparison featured on the front of the disc case; this is an entirely different movie and a well worth a viewing for fans of supernatural mystery horror.
It's not weighed down with extras, but the DVD from Genius is a technical champ: a pristine 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is supplemented by a clean 5.1 surround mix. A well-done making-of featurette is it for extras.
I liked this a lot.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Genius Products
* 2.40:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 102 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated R