Movie Review: Annabelle
Annabelle is a spin off/prequel to the Conjuring. If you have not seen the Conjuring, the plot follows a married couple who have a deep scientific interest in the paranormal. It is, of course, based on real events. It was a James Wan film, and a spiritual follow up to Insidious. The film was pretty popular and so was the doll Annabelle.
The “True” (leave that to interpretation) story of Annabelle goes like this. A woman bought a doll at a second hand shop for her daughter who was at the tail end of med school. She and her roommates soon began experiencing strange phenomena involving the doll Annabelle. They eventually seek a medium out who speaks to the ghost of a little girl who is attached to the doll. Seeing no harm in the little girl they gave her permission to stay with them. And then things got serious. The doll began to move and leave notes and eventually physically harmed the roommates live in boyfriend.
Eventually they seek out the Warrens who take the doll away from them and locked it in their museum. Annabelle, the film, opens with these med students, but it doesn’t go any further into their story. The film takes place one year prior to these events. A young couple who are now expecting a baby bring Annabelle into their home. At this point it is just a doll to add to their collection. Soon however a satanic cult runs a muck in their neighborhood and attacks the woman. Police show up and kill the attackers. One attacker, a female was named Annabelle and her ghost attaches itself to the doll and the haunting begins.
On the surface this film is just like any of Wans other horror flicks. It has the same style and overall look as Insidious, and The Conjuring. If you were a fan of those films than you will surely enjoy Annabelle. If you’re like me than you admire the efforts, but ultimately don’t like them very much. Like it’s predecessors Annabelle has its merits. The cinematography is good and sometimes brilliant. With wide lens and long shots it looks great and creates an uncomfortable setting to set the tone as well. However these are few and far between and the film is actually cut like a cheap looking tv show. Much of the scare scenes reminded me of the old Unsolved Mysteries.
The scares can be interesting. There’s a scene where a character is in an elevator and there’s a demonic presence after her. She gets safely into the elevator, the doors shut and she thinks shes back on her floor. When the doors open and she hasn’t moved. Frantically she tries again. The doors shut and open and yeah, she’s still in the scary basement. This was my favorite part of the film.
They often show Annabelle’s ghost moving the Doll to explain how the Doll is operated, but this takes away from the story. Obviously it could have been hokey to have the doll operating on its own without the ghost, but it takes away from the creepyness. It’s not the doll at all, just this Satanic bitch who won’t go into the light.
There’s a secondary character who has some plot of her own and plays a hand in the god awful ending that rivals and almost shadows the stupid ending of Mama and her presence along with the cheesy effects, and frankly horrible looking doll really take this movie into a bad direction. I feel like Insidious, The Conjuring and Annabelle are specifically designed to scare women. A man who grew up with the genre really doesn’t get much out of these movies at all.
If you liked the other films you’re gonna like this, so watch it for sure. If you didn’t, than skip it. You’re not gonna like this one either.
I think that the “real” Annabelle doll is a lot scarier than that stupid porcelain doll prop.