Thursday, August 24, 2017

Horror Film Review

Annabelle (2014):  A film with that creepy ass doll from The Conjuring.  By the way, the real Annabelle is a large Reggedy Ann doll that's about as scary as a bunny rabbit.  Artistic liberties, I suppose.  Anyway, this little adventure takes place before Lorraine and Ed Warren lock the doll up in their bizarre museum of haunted objects.

Josh (Ward Horton) buys the doll for his pregnant wife Mia (Annabelle Wallis) who apparently collects creepy ass dolls.  Satanic cultists invade their home.  A violent struggle ensues, and before one of the cultists dies, she performs some kind of ritual that opens Annabelle up for demonic possession.  Or something.  The couple move and Josh tosses the doll in the trash at Mia's request.  Unpacking at their new place, Mia finds Annabelle.  They're surprised and confused but decide to keep it instead of trashing it again.  Probably not the brightest idea.  Paranormal activity follows shortly thereafter and escalates to the point where Father Perez (Tony Amendola) is called in.  He takes the doll back to his church, well, tries to anyway.  Kindly neighbor Evelyn (Alfre Woodard) steps in to help and really goes above and beyond the call.  You see, the demon demands that Mia kill herself or it will kill her newborn baby.  I know.  I was like, WTF?  Here's your spoiler warning.  Evelyn grabs Annabelle and leaps out the window to her death, thereby sparing Mia who was actually about to jump herself.  Josh, Mia, and baby all live.  Happy, happy, happy.

I don't like dolls.  It's not a phobia as such but rather they instill in me a deep sense of discomfort and mistrust.  Strangely, Annabelle failed to twang that string in me, so I could view this film from a more objective position.  Objectively, this film is pretty silly.  Oh, it certainly dishes out a fright or two but the whole Satanic cult business and a demon haggling like it's trying to get a deal on a used  My disbelief can only be suspended so much.

The Skinny

Acting:  Amendola is great as usual (loved him in Stargate SG-1).  Horton and Wallis try too hard.  It's as if they're forcing pathos down our throats.
Story:  Trite and tiresome.
Direction:  He made the most of it, although 99 minutes is too long.
Production Values:  Can't think of too many flaws here.  I would have guessed the budget to be much higher than $6.5 million.
Gore/FX:  Some good blood at the beginning with the cultist melee.  Not nearly enough carnage for the film to be rated R, though.
Scares:  There are, yes.  I will concede that much.
Ending:  I think it's goofy and manipulative.
Verdict:  Should you see Annabelle?  If you love creepy ass doll movies, then yes.  If you liked The Conjuring and think this will be as good, then no.  Just go watch The Conjuring again.

Rating:  2 out of 5

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