A couple begin to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists.
Writer, Gary Dauberman, and director, John R. Leonetti, deliver a dead, lifeless The Conjuring spin-off just in time for Halloween with this Satanic doll story no one needed. Annabelle has so many problems that I don’t know where to start. I do, however, know this terrible horror entry isn’t worth very much of my time since sitting through 90 minutes of the film was the lions’ share of work. Gather ’round the horror clichés, kids; the review is starting.
Like in so many horror films, writers/directors think the best common approach is to tie the film to new parents. All of their expectant hopes and dreams, crazy pregger hormones, and fears are ripe for the picking when Satan has a Babies R Us gift card with your name on it. Mia and John (Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton) are the standard pregnant wife/doctor husband that these kind of terrible films can’t do without, and they are reprehensible in their roles. Characterization be damned, we’re thrown into the boring, mundane life of this couple in the third trimester of their first child. It’s the 60s and the nightly news is filled with Charles Manson-related terror, giving the viewer ham-fisted foreshadowing of zaniness to come.
Of course, Mia, was just gifted the not at all creepy Annabelle to complete her collection of disconcerting dolls for her future child’s nursery. I’m guessing venomous snakes or Nazi memorabilia was just too edgy, eh? By all means, litter a baby’s room with these terrifying dolls and hope for the best. Crazy comes knocking in the form of a pair of ritualistic occult killers. Poor Mia survives a stab in the side, but Annabelle is now drunk on bloodshed and murder. Insert the lame downward spiral this films claims is a plot.
The rest of the film is spent doing things any normal person couldn’t abide, which is often the case in horror, and it is some of the loosest nonsense you’re likely to see at the movies this year. The doll clearly has an agenda and that is the baby’s soul. Well, anyone’s soul really. She’s a cursed doll that comes to life, so she isn’t really picky as long as someone dies. The film is filled with less than scary jump out scares, terrible monotone lines, lifeless delivery and every horror trope you can imagine. The script reads like the worst Rosemary’s Baby fan fiction under the sun, and the parallels are laughable. While presented pretty and with the expected formal cinematography, there is nothing artistic about the film in the end.
The film did succeed in tricking me into the theater for 90 minutes, but in my defense, I just wanted to drink at The Movie Tavern with my lovely, spirited girlfriend. The Bloody Mary’s were the bloodiest thing in Annabelle. Unless you’re a straight up horror junkie, you have no business encouraging this film, so please stay home, and help tell Hollywood we just don’t care anymore. At this point, I’m more than worried about the integrity of The Conjuring 2, due out in 2015. I’m not exaggerating when I say there is not a single redeeming quality this straight-to-video quality movie offers to seasoned horror fans….or 12 year old girls getting dropped off at the mall Cinemark.
Huge swing and a miss. Somewhere out there, Chucky is drinking heavily and crying. Batteries and talent sold separately.