At a surface level, the premise of Finders Keepers doesn’t score many points in the originality stakes. That on its own, however, can be forgiven – in theory at least – if enough fun can be had with that familiarity. In the absence of a particularly fresh idea, there’s something to be said for playing to your strengths, but they’re in short supply here, and this is a rote, predictable demon-doll effort that can’t channel its scary imagery and strong central performance into anything that leaves a lasting impression.
The film’s opening is suitably gruesome, as police officers investigate a grisly murder scene. The setup is strong, and the imagery jarring, and as one cop is attacked by a blood-drenched child clutching a creepy doll, the scene cuts and flashes forward in time to single mother Alyson (Jaime Pressley, Not Another Teen Movie, My Name Is Earl) moving into the very same house with her daughter Claire (Kylie Rogers, the film’s obvious star). Early on, Claire discovers the doll from the opening scene hidden in the house, and quickly becomes preoccupied with it. As her behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, tensions mount and the body count rises, and Alyson must solve the mystery behind the chaos before it’s too late.
From here, Finders Keepers is predictable to the very last beat. Frittering away Saw‘s Tobin Bell as a peculiarly mustachioed child psychologist, a couple of effectively creepy kills can’t pull this back on track. Tropes are visited and revisited: the inevitable pet deaths, the feverish combing through conveniently expositional newspaper articles, the character deaths you can spot twenty minutes before they happen, and most egregious of all, the age-old demon/possession standard: a Hispanic character who is introduced solely to assist in deconstructing the mythology of whatever entity happens to be terrorising the family.
At the centre of the film’s limited appeal is Rogers. Alternating where necessary between innocence and intimidation, she’s the breakout star of the feature. Elsewhere, some visually satisfying deaths and some polished work from director Alexander Yellen lend the project some substance, but it’s not enough to propel Finders Keepers from the bargain bin.