This week I was lucky enough to get to screen two very different films.
First up: Annabelle
Directed by John R. Leonetti
Release date 3 October, 2014
I am a huge fan of horror films. I love them; I can discuss them for hours. I also really love creepy stuff. Serial killers, unsolved murders, mysterious abandoned towns, etc. So when I learned about the Lorraine and Ed Warren I was really interested. A couple who traveled around collecting cursed artifacts, saving families from scary dolls, and maybe ghosts? Yes please!
The real Annabelle is an average looking Raggedy Ann doll but she is far more sinister. The owners alleged that she would move on her own, write them messages, and she was even known to attack one of their friends. They called the Warrens for help. They investigated the doll and decided it’d be best for everyone if she were locked up in a glass case in their museum of oddities.
The film version of Annabelle was introduced in James Wan’s film The Conjuring and completely unrecognizable next to the original–the red yarn hair was traded for blonde braids, she was given a dark and twisted grin, wide eyes, deep dimples and rosy red cheeks. She was completely unsettling to look at. She was given only a few minutes of screen time but that seemed enough to get her her own movie.
Annabelle is a prequel, explaining how the doll came to be possessed. The film is set about two years before The Conjuring. The story begins with a beautiful young couple in a perfect suburb. It’s kinda gross how cute and perfect they are. He is finishing up his residency and she is 8 months pregnant with their first child and collects dolls, which isn’t weird at all. She has a room full of them. It’s actually really weird. She receives the Annabelle doll as a gift from her husband, completing her set of equally ugly dolls. When they are attacked by members of a satanic cult, their lives are turned upside down.
The story is quite lacking and the ending leaves much to be desired, but the film has a lot of scary atmosphere. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared most of the time. The longer the doll is possessed, the more terrifying she gets. There are some cheap jump scares, but I didn’t find it to be as annoying as I normally would. The second half of the movie feels very inspired by Rosemary’s Baby (which is a VERY good movie and a good book). This movie was fun to see once but if I want more scares from this universe, I’m sticking with The Conjuring.
2.5 out of 5 stars.