Heh, I have to admit right off that about 30 minutes into the film I'm sitting here TOTALLY mystified, trying to piece together how this little boy ties into the old artist who makes dolls... Seriously, I'm straining my brain trying to figure out what the HELL is the connection. And then, get this... It wasn't until AFTER I see Lou Diamond Phillips walking around speaking into a recorder that I ***FINALLY*** realized that I was watching a bloody Anthology! What a total PUTZ...! Then I remembered that a while ago I had indeed read about the film, but by the time I watched it, I have totally forgotten that it was an Anthology.
Well... if THAT doesn't inspire heartfelt confidence in my thoughts and impressions, I don't know what will...? : )
Anyway... Truly, what a different film. Just like I say in my Summary, at the beginning you are expecting a COMPLETELY different type of movie. At first, you get a kind of a 'PUPPET MASTER' vibe; and even the soundtrack is somewhat reminiscent of the Full Moon films. So, I'm going along trying to get into it; the movie is moving kind of slow. But ultimately it was pretty decent.
The 2nd segment was okay; it was well done, but it just wasn't really my favourite. Just ONE thing... And, this shouldn't give anything away. BUT... What the HELL was the deal at the end of that segment, when the guy writing the article had this EXTREMELY sudden and abrupt impulse, like he just realized something shocking, where he goes running all excited to go look in the room...??? What the hell got him all worked up anyway? I must've missed that, but it DID give the end of that segment a bit of a mysterious feel. I'll have to go onto the message boards and see if anyone discusses that.
As many here have said, the 3rd segment is the weightiest and it is done VERY well. Lou diamond Phillips' acting is quite good, since of course he pretty much has to carry the entire segment. I wanted to note too that the soundtrack for the last segment is especially good; the continuous melody in the background REALLY lends itself to the poignant events happening on the screen.
I pretty much agree with Matix JC's review (not so much his Summary title, but more the actual content of his review) Despite his very negative sounding Summary, he did end up rating the film a '7', which is pretty decent, and I personally agree, but I rated it a '6' to be more objective for others. As he says, there IS merit to the other segments too, but mainly the last one is by far the best part. With this film, I think that it is important to go into it 1) Unlike me, REALIZING that it IS an Anthology. That way you will expect the change of stories. 2) Don't be expecting TOO much, particularly of the 1st segment. Because, you could very EASILY allow it to overshadow your opinion of the rest of the film. So, you need to be patient and go with it until the last segment. 3) FWIW, make sure that you watch a little bit through the end credits because there is a little teaser after it, which gives it a nice little slant that makes you think...
Although this isn't one of my favourite Horror films, I believe I understand what the deal is with this movie and why some people don't like it... You see a number of reviews (quite repetitively) saying 'Boring...' 'Boring drivel...', 'BORING Slogfest!', etc... And, I think I can understand why. If you go into this movie expecting it to be a full blown Horror film, you WILL indeed be very disappointed. I think Matix JC also mentions that in his review. This has a few brief Horror elements in it, but mainly like he had said it is a Psychological Thriller with strong Dramatic elements. So, I can see why a LOT of people would think that it IS boring drivel and a waste of time. One guy said that being an Anthology, he was expecting something like 'CREEPSHOW' or 'TALES FROM THE DARK SIDE', but this film is nothing like that.
What I feel might help you determine whether you would enjoy this movie or not, would be, first, whether you even enjoy Anthologies at all. Some people don't. And then a close second would be whether you enjoy 'Horror films' where the emphasis is not really on Horror, but more so about the stories, the characters, and in this case, an overall theme of Sanity, since the stories are set in a Sanitarium. If you are the kind of person who can be patient with movies, especially low-key Horror films that are a bit on the slow side at the beginning, and you can do without a lot of Action, Gore, or Sadism, THEN you might have a decent chance of enjoying this film. Because by the time you get through the whole movie, and hopefully get drawn in by the emotional weight and intensity of the last segment, I think you may appreciate the film as a whole better.
I hope this helps...