(On Cable TV, July 2019) Considering that I disliked Hostel II largely because it killed off Heather Matarazzo’s character midway through, you can imagine that I’m no more favourably inclined toward Welcome to the Dollhouse. No, her character doesn’t die in here … but considering that she plays a junior high outcast who spends the entire film being treated cruelly by schoolmates, teachers and family there is a limit to watching the amount of abuse even a fictional character can take. From writer-director Todd Solondz, the gratuitous cruelty is the point of his dark so-called humour but that means the film is actively unpleasant. At times, it seems as if Welcome to the Dollhouse presses every one of my buttons as an aggravated filmgoer: the low-budget muddy realistic filmmaking; the episodic structure; the character who becomes a cosmic black hole of suffering; and the lack of a satisfying ending. It’s all there, so no surprises if I’m less than enthusiastic about the result. An ordeal more than a film-going experience, I can happily live the rest of my life without having to watch Welcome to the Dollhouse ever again.