25th Oct2021

‘The Curse of Humpty Dumpty’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Nicola Wright, Sian Altman, Kate Sandison, Danielle Scott, Antonia Whillans, Antonia Johnstone, Kate Milner Evans, Chris Cordell, Richard Harfst | Written and Directed by Scott Jeffrey

I’ve said it numerous times in the past, but the horror genre has often used as metaphor. For political issues; societal issues; to tell stories that hit on touchy subjects without smackng the audience in the face with melodrama. The Curse of Humpty Dumpty is one such film.

When their mother Wendy (Nicola Wright) is diagnosed with early-stage dementia, Liz and her younger sister Hazel take her back to the country home where she raised them. Perhaps to jump-start her memories, perhaps to give her solace in familiar surroundings. What Liz and Hazel didn’t expect was the terrifying memories their mother would uncover, all surrounding a creepy doll, Humpty Dumoty (though it looks NOTHING like the nusery rhyme iteration), which Wendy insists used to belong to her years ago, back when the girls father was alive…

If you’re a long time reader of Nerdly you’ll know that we are, well I am, a big advocate for the films of writer, producer and director Scott Jeffrey. Making multiple films on low budgets, Jeffrey’s films vary wildly and I can usually find something to enjoy about his films no matter the subject matter, style and content. But in my wildest dreams, as someone who’s probably watched more of his films than your average reviewer (and someone who literally seeks his films out to watch), I’d never have expected The Curse of Humpty Dumpty.

Why? Well that exploitive title hides a film that is a powerful look at dementia and the impact it has on sufferers and their families. All wrapped up in a film that makes you question whether ANYTHING we’re seeing is real. Anything. And this, unlike some of Jeffrey’s films which lean towards a more “campy” nature, is a very, very, downbeat film. One driven by a superb performance from actress Nicola Wright who, in the past couple of years has seemingly jumped feet first into the horror genre, and Jeffrey’s productions in particular, bringing a lot more kudos to his low budget productions.

Of course this IS a horror film and as such Jeffrey piles on the terror, starting with the titular doll. This Humpty Dumpty is unlike any other (just look at the artwork). Almost life size with a distinctive egg-like face, Humpty seems to shift in size and shape – towering over it’s “victims” at times, at others looking the same size as Child’s Play‘s Chucky. The terrifying toy also seems to be related to Stephen King’s terrifying Pennywise, it’s mouth opening to a myriad of razor-sharp teeth with which it tears it’s “victims” apart…

Now you might ask, why do I keep writing victims in quotation/speech marks? Because Scott Jeffrey cleverly plays with the audiences perception of just what is going on in the film. You see, Wendy has dementia but it turns out she may also have buried some unwanted memories deep-down in her subconscious, memories that – thanks to returning to the old family home and seeing Humpty again – may have been unlocked, unleashing something inside her. Or has it? That’s the question that is constantly asked throughout The Curse of Humpty Dumpty. Is the bloodshed on Humpty’s hands, or Wendy’s? And Nicola Wright’s performance, which starts out sweet and innocent, becomes increasingly unhinged. And Jeffrey’s script always leaves you questioning whether it’s through dementia or insanity.

***** 5/5

Undoubtedly one of Scott Jeffrey’s most accomplished films yet, The Curse of Humpty Dumpty is available to watch now on the V Horror YouTube channel.

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