All creepy dolls are bad news. So just toss them in the trash while you still can!
John (Ward Horton) and Mia Form (Annabelle Wallis) are a very young and happy couple with a new baby on the way. While John isn’t around most of the time because he’s trying to finish up medical school, Mia spends most of her time at home, doing everyday, normal chores. John knows that his wife must be incredibly bored, so for that reason alone, he decides to buy her an antique doll with a beautiful dress named Annabelle. Mia loves it and automatically sets it aside on the shelf next to all of her other odd-looking dolls, but as soon as she does this, crazy and disastrous stuff starts to happen. Neighbors are murdered, crazy, savage-like cults start popping-up and for some reason, Mia starts seeing weird figures in and around the household. While there’s no exact reasoning for what is happening, Mia and John start to wonder if any of it has to do with Annabelle and if so, what do they do to get rid of her? After all, every time that they’ve tried to throw her away, she somehow comes back.
So, what do you do when a crazy, killer-doll won’t leave you alone?
“Don’t worry, honey. It’ll watch over us at night.”
You’d think that by the way the creators of the Conjuring have hyped Annabelle, both the doll, as well as the movie, as being, that it would be the scariest thing since cavemen discovered fire. In the actual Conjuring, Annabelle herself is locked away in a glass-box, with a sign telling no one “to ever open”. You’d think that with that kind of warning, that the movie about Annabelle, her origin and her sick, twisted ways she extracts violence on those around her, would be absolutely bone-chilling and if, at that, even scarier than its predecessors.
But unfortunately, it’s not.
If anything, Annabelle, the movie, is just plain and simply put, boring. There’s something interesting about this movie in that it tries to go for a retro, old-school horror-vibe, as in the same vein of a Roman Polanski thriller. The two characters names are “John” and “Mia”, the stringy-score screeches every time something spooky happens, and yes, there’s a lot of talk about flower-power and cults. While I want to give director John R. Leonetti credit for at least trying to make this movie look and sound cooler than it actually is, he fails at actually conjuring up any sort of the same feelings, or raw emotions that Polanski’s thrillers always had, even when it seemed like they weren’t going for that mood at all.
In fact, I’ll just stop bringing up Polanski altogether, as to do so, would be disrespect to his craft, as Annabelle is a pretty crummy movie. It’s the kind of horror movie that uses jump-scares as a back-up plan for every scene, it’s villains aren’t particularly scary or frightening, if only because they’re shown so clear and full in the first thirty minutes, and the movie itself kind of jumps the shark real early on. There’s never any sense of impending doom or dread being built-up; the movie literally starts with a scare and continues to do the same kind of scares, again and again, almost to the point where none of its scary, but just numbing and annoying.
Any good horror movie you see, you’ll notice that the movie doesn’t just start off by giving you all the blood, gore, shrieks, geeks and ghouls right off the bat. That’s because the people behind the movie know that sometimes, having people wait around and wait for something terrifying to happen, is the whole fun and scary part about seeing a horror movie. You don’t want everything thrown at you, all at once and right away – sometimes, you just want to wait around, getting some chilly things given to you, every once and a blue moon, all before it fully gets out-of-hand and crazy.
God vs. a creepy doll. Where’s that movie?!?
That’s how most good horror movies are and, as you can probably tell, Annabelle is not that movie.
It also hurts that throughout the whole 100 minutes, we’re given possibly the most boring, most uninteresting and most dull characters in a horror movie since the days of the Friday the 13th sequels. Say what you will about Jason X, at least all of the characters in that movie were all jack-asses and over-the-top; they’re far more interesting and fun to watch than either this John or Mia ever had a chance to be. And while I don’t blame Ward Horton or Annabelle Wallis for the problems with their characters, they certainly don’t help matters by having absolutely no chemistry together whatsoever, nor do they actually seem interested in doing anything with the characters, either. Sure, you could definitely blame it on the lackluster direction they may have been saddled with, but unfortunately, they just look bad in the process and it’s a shame, too, because I’m sure that they’re really nice people in real life.
And basically, that’s all there is to Annabelle. The characters suck, the performances are even worse, and the scares just aren’t there, which is the biggest issue of all. The movie is, like I said before, roughly 100 minutes and more than half of that run-time is spent trying to scare the pants off of everyone watching it, which, aside from maybe one or two surprises, never happens. It’s just a cash-cow horror flick, made for the sake of more money for the Conjuring franchise and remind audiences that there’s a bigger universe out there.
However, maybe I’d just like to stick with the Conjuring story instead. It’s far more interesting and yes, spookier.
Consensus: Without even trying, Annabelle is a boring, uninteresting and downright silly horror flick that doesn’t seem to have a single fun bone in its body, even if it is, essentially, about a creepy-doll wreaking havoc on 60’s suburbanites.
2.5 / 10
Eh. I’ve seen far, far worse. Trust me. Just go to my grandmom’s place.
Photos Courtesy of: Aceshowbiz