The Toybox (2018)

My grandparents used to have a trailer that they bought for vacations. Most of the time, it sat as a refuge in the backyard for my grandfather to relax in. I didn’t get to spend many nights away from home in it, except for once, and it was so hot and so claustrophobic in there, I was awake all night, just staring into the unfamiliar environment and hoping to go home.

I’ve always had this majestic idea about getting an RV and hitting the open road, seeing the sights and having a place to crash. After The Toybox, I’m forgetting this fantasy.

Charles wants to put his estranged family back together — a promise he made to his wife just before she died. One son, Steve, is married to Jennifer (Denise Richards, Wild ThingsStarship Troopers) and has a young daughter and dog. The other, Jay (Brian Nagel, Ouija House) wants nothing to do with his father.

Nevertheless, everyone piles into a vintage RV that Charles got for a steal. As they make their way through the desert, they pick up Samantha (Mischa Barton, The O.C.) and her brother Mark (Matt Mercer, Beyond the Gates). Of course, there’s a detour that Charles just has to take and a roadside attraction he is just dying to see. Soon, they’re stranded and the RV begins to reveal that all is not as it seems.

Yep. You’ve seen possessed houses. You’ve seen The Car. You’ve even seen RV based movies like Race with the Devil and The Hills Have Eyes. But have you ever seen a possessed RV before?

Director Tom Nagel created ClownTown a few years back and has appeared in several films, like Man of Steel, as an actor. Here, he shows a pretty deft hand at building suspense. There’s a great scene where Richards’ character sees a past tragedy yet cannot do anything to stop it while the serial killer who possesses the RV slowly makes his way toward her.

There are a few moments — like the RV chasing the dad and him not just sharply turning away from it — that were a little silly in an otherwise decent film. But the movie totally redeems itself with the scene where polaroid after polaroid of the murders that happened inside the mobile home are revealed and one of the characters meets a gory end at the hands of cutlery.

Richards and Barton may not be in the A list any longer, but they approach this film as if it’s a major release. They both go all out in their performances and bring plenty of meat to their roles.

Want to see this one for yourself? The Toybox will open in Los Angeles at Laemmle’s NoHo 7 on September 14 for a one week run. Then, starting September 18, you can grab it on blu ray, DVD and Cable and Digital HD, including Amazon Instant, iTunes, iN DEMAND, DirecTV, Comcast, Optimum, Dish, Google Play and more.

You can get more info — and preorder your copy — at the official site.

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