Annabelle (2014)

We’re sure on fire now. 20 days in to my #31DaysOfHorror. So, yeah, play along on Instagram with the tag #BarleyDoesHorror. Lets get to this one.

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I would like to start this by saying, I LOVED the conjuring. It was easily one of my favourite movies in recent horror history. It was phenomenally scary, and Annabelle, the doll, certainly played a serious part in that. So, when I heard a prequel/origin story of Annabelle was coming, part of me was kind of excited. The rest of me approached it with pretty serious skepticism. Anyway, what would a horror prequel like this be about? Well :

A couple begin to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists.

Pretty well what you’d expect I’d say. Now, something I learned very quickly while watching this, is that evil dolls DO NOT NEED ORIGIN STORIES. Another thing I learned was that original ideas are hard. The movie starts off with some pretty horrendous dialogue, and flat performances from our main characters. Then a broadcast about the Manson family that is one of the less subtle things I’ve ever heard. So, it’s not really a stretch for me to draw the connection between the woman who attached herself to Annabelle and … the Manson family. -sigh-. So, between that, some Blair Witch symbols, and borrowed ideas from about 60 other horror movies, we get a pretty mediocre movie.

ANNABELLE

When you’re expanding the universe of a great movie, like The Conjuring, it’s so important to stay true to what you had. The Conjuring presented us with a genuinely terrifying story, fantastic atmosphere and some amazing marketing. For whatever reason, instead of continuing this tradition, Annabelle essentially leeches what it can out of the previous film, and adds very little at all. For Christ’s sake, the mobile in the baby’s room plays the same tune as the music box from The Conjuring, for no fucking reason.

This story could have been something very interesting and creepy, and the movie actually delivers on several very creepy scenes. I will give that credit absolutely. The scenes that work, really work. Unfortunately they are surrounded by a load of scenes that don’t, and a bunch of plot points that really don’t do any justice to The Conjuring, or even to the ‘true’ story. There was some real potential here to make a pretty interesting follow up, but instead we get a lazy cash-in.

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Side Note: one of the dolls owned by the main character CACKLES when you pull a string on her back. Why would you have that?! WHY!?

Moving on.

I really did have high hopes where this movie is concerned. There was a really creepy story to be told about this doll, but to be honest, the best version of it was told at the beginning of The Conjuring. They successfully told the story of this doll in less than 10 minutes, and it was a creepier scene than this entire movie. Oh, the picture above has one of the silliest moments of the movie. That’s Annabelle lifting up off the ground, creepy right? Wrong. Because some demon is holding her up in front of it’s face, being ~spooky~ … it’s a dumb movie, and it didn’t have to be.

It’s really a shame.

FINAL GRADE : C

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