Movie Review: “Annabelle” – Ugly As Sin

Written by Hannah Kay October 03, 2014

Annabelle

Hollywood loathes letting a franchise go without squeezing it for every possible cent it could offer, and this is especially true with the American horror genre. Following the success of the 2013 horror hit, “The Conjuring”, it was obvious that a sequel or spin-off of some sort was going to be produced. Enter “Annabelle,” a prequel centering around the origins of a freaky looking doll owned by one of the daughters of the Perron family.

It starts off by introducing a very white couple in the 60s, John and Mia Gordon. Their main concerns focus on naming their unborn child and whether they should start locking the front door of their suburban home. The story develops when John Gordon presents Annabelle the doll as a gift to Mia, who, for some unexplained reason collects rare and nightmare inducing antique dolls. This doll is hideous, but that doesn’t stop Mia from placing it right in the middle of the largest shelf for all to see. The next night, the couple awaken and find themselves fighting for their lives against two members of the local satanic cult, one of whom is the estranged daughter of their next door neighbours. When the police show up, the satanic daughter locks herself in the room and succeeds in summoning a demon spirit using a doll.

No prizes for guessing which doll.

The police enter the room to find the daughter has slit her throat and the haunting begins! The rest of the movie you can probably figure out yourself. Side characters of note include the priest that’s consulted after events escalate, and the wise black woman who is well versed in the lore of demons and spirits from the beyond.

Annabelle2

This movie seems to have been written by people who took just about every horror movie cliché and trope they could think of and meshed them together to create a dull and predictable horror movie. Whether it be the music being turned off and on by an unseen source, Mia finding creepy drawings depicting death, or even the consulting priest taking the doll and getting brutally attacked when he tries to bring it into the church. Even one of the scarier scenes in this movie is similar to a scene in Insidious.

And that’s no coincidence. Though the director, John R Leonetti does not have much experience directing movies, he’s been involved in the cinematography and production of a number of popular horror related films. With at least 2 other doll-related films under his belt, he definitely has experience. He should know better.

One question I have regarding the movie is that I have no idea why Annabelle was needed by the demon spirit. It’s apparent that the demon has a physical form and is in no way in need of this doll, yet the camera pans to the doll at every paranormal instance. The doll’s not doing anything! It’s the demon spirit. A crayon could just as easily have been the vessel. The doll makes for some creepy shots but there’s no indication that the doll is in any way required for the summoning of the demon. We don’t even see the doll move on its own. This was disappointing. I thought we were going to get some serious doll moving action.

With the exception of one or two notable scenes, the movie relies heavily on jump scares and closeups of a nasty looking doll to frighten the audience. This is another easily forgettable installment in the realm of American horror so if you’re in the mood for a serious scare and are thinking about going to see this movie, sit back, count to ten, come to your senses, and consider staying at home to watch something better on Netflix.

My Rating: 3/10

Annabelle pic

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