Ragdoll‘s plot feels like a cross between two fellow Full Moon/Big City films, Killjoy and The Horrible Doctor Bones (granted, it came out before both). Like the latter, a hip-hop group (whose performances inspire vehement fast-forwarding) is strong-armed into signing a contract with a crooked producer. Like the former, a kid who’s been wronged — in this case, lead rapper Kwame (Russell Richardson), whose grandmother is hurt by the producer’s thugs — conjures a supernatural being to get revenge, only to see it spiral out of control. In the case of Ragdoll, that revenge comes in the form of…a bucket of water…No, wait, a ragdoll.
By the time this movie was made, Full Moon had cornered the market on cheesy killer doll movies with the Puppet Master and Demonic Toys films, but Ragdoll took the dolls into “urban” territory, setting the stage for a series of black horror flicks from Big City Pictures in the early 21st century. There’s a campy charm to most killer doll films, and Ragdoll is no exception. The effects are cheap and the gore is tame, but there’s something about the haggard, cat-screeching doll that’s watchable. Plus, William Stanford Davis and low-budget horror regular James Black give standout performances as gangsters who are infinitely more interesting (and in Black’s case, more gay) than the drab heroes.