'The Toybox' Theatrical/Blu-ray/DVD: Mischa Barton Haunted Winnebago Screams 'Welcome to the RV, Bitch'
The joint Skyline Entertainment and Steel House Productions supernatural thriller "The Toybox" jointly proves that there is life left in old-school style horror films and that dilapidated Winnebagos never die, they just lure in new victims. Fans of this genre and/ or Mischa Barton of the Fox teensoap "The OC" and/or former Mrs. Charlie Sheen/current real housewife Denise Richards can check out the film in theaters starting September 14, 2018 and home-video retailers the following Tuesday.
This aptly campy story about an RV with an evil mind of its own opens with it luring in its first victim the night before the road trip around which the movie is centered. Suffice it to say both that one boy was absent on the day of the "stranger danger" assembly and that his story will be an enduring urban legend.
The fun begins the next morning when widowed dad Charles shows that he is in charge by having elder "good" son Steve and younger "bad" son Jay accompany him on a family vacation in the titular "vintage" vehicle. Richards plays Steve's spouse Jennifer, who is along for the ride,
"ToyBox" follows the rules by having the suspense slowly build. The weirdness begins with the windows acting oddly and things going pure old-school by having the radio dial move on its own. Young daughter Olivia learning the importance of keeping her hands in the vehicle at all times is the first escalation.
Charles stopping to play good Samaritan on discovering a disabled vehicle brings Mark and his sister Sam (Barton) into the mix. This leads to Charles fairly literally proving that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions when he offers Mar and Sam a ride to the next town.
The driving force behind the movie takes our travelers down the aforementioned path by jacking their ride and stranding them in the desert. This leads to the real fun.
Anyone who has ever seen a horror movie aptly can see much of what ensues from a mile away. One can understand a moderate amount of carelessness regarding sticking a hand in the engine of the central carnivore despite it not running at that time. Others putting themselves in the path of danger after that event is less believable (but makes for bloody good fun).
Director Tom Nagel and writer Jeff Denton do a little better regarding both the fleeting shadowy figures seen in the corner of an eye and the glimpses of relevant torment. They further nicely tie this together by revealing the equally relevant history of the literal deathtrap.
The concepts of a haunted RV and that vehicle facilitating stranding the whack-a-moles are clever enough to warrant watching "Toybox." The valid interpretation that decades of family drama that both travelling together and being confined in such a small and shabby space fuels the supernatural rage is a terrific bonus. The only thing that would improve on this would be the Partridge Family bus being the evil entity and the stress of that group touring for 40 years igniting the inferno.