Saturday Review: Annabelle

Annabelle-2014-Movie-PosterI absolutely loved The Conjuring. I know its reviews are sort of mixed in the horror community, but I think it is the best horror movie I’ve seen in a long time. My daughter loved it too and has been anxious to see Annabelle since she first heard they were making the movie. A couple of weeks ago, I took off work early and we headed to the movie theater after school expecting an hour and a half of awesome horror.

It was . . . okay. It certainly met expectations as an average horror movie, but didn’t really come anywhere close to The Conjuring.

A little plot background from IMDB user johntyler249: John Form has found the perfect gift for his expectant wife, Mia – a beautiful, rare vintage doll in a pure white wedding dress. But Mia’s delight with Annabelle doesn’t last long. On one horrific night, their home is invaded by members of a satanic cult, who violently attack the couple. Spilled blood and terror are not all they leave behind. The cultists have conjured an entity so malevolent that nothing they did will compare to the sinister conduit to the damned that is now… Annabelle.

So if you watched The Conjuring, you probably remember the opening scene describing two young women’s experiences with a haunted doll named Annabelle. This is Annabelle’s imagined backstory.

What was good:

-The movie didn’t waste a lot of time with one person trying to convince others that crazy things were happening. This is my least favorite part of modern horror films and I’m happy to see the recent trend abandoning it.

-The scares were pretty good, especially on the big screen. I mean, creepy dolls are creepy; you would have to try very hard to mess that up. We are talking classic scares here – creaking floors, weird noises, things jumping out at you.

What was bad:

-Lots of talking. Lots of trying to figure out how to stop this evil. This movie felt three hours long.

-Annabelle didn’t actually do much. Just lots of close-ups and swells in music. Kudos to the director for not taking the easy way out and doing the zoom-in-on-in-inanimate-object-only-to-see-it-blink thing. I kept expecting it.

-No Ed and Lorraine Warren. I watch a lot of paranormal shows on television. I mean, a lot. They are my favorite. Lorraine used to pop up on several shows and I love her. Now, I wasn’t expecting them to have major roles in the film as this is supposed to be events that took place before their involvement. Still, I was disappointed. At one point, a priest mentioned knowing of a “couple back east” who dealt with these kinds of objects. Really? That felt incredibly forced.

-Too many horror clichés. Too many nods to other – really good – horror movies. It really reminded me of Insidious – some neat visuals, but a really lacking plot. I wasn’t surprised to learn it was the same director.

One word to describe it: unremarkable. Much like Annabelle in real life:


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