Movie Review: Annabelle (2014)

“Before The Conjuring, There Was Annabelle.”

0 Stars
Annabelle (2014)

Annabelle (2014)


Director: John R. Leonetti

Cast: Ward Horton, Annabelle Wallis, Alfre Woodard

Synopsis: A vintage doll is possessed by the malign spirit of the murderous member of a Satanic cult.

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Annabelle is a doll so creepy looking that it could only have been created for the purposes of a horror movie.  Most kids probably wouldn’t go anywhere near it, and only the most committed of collectors would even consider having it in their house.  At least Chucky looked cute before he was consumed by a malevolent spirit, but Annabelle’s appearance doesn’t change in the slightest when she’s possessed by the ghost of a teenage cult member who is slain by the police while attacking a young married couple in their home.   She looked ugly before, and she looks ugly after…

The unlucky couple is Mia (a strong performance from actress Annabelle Wallis – Sword of Vengeance, Grimsby) and John Gordon (Ward Horton – The Wolf of Wall Street) who, in late 1960s America, are expecting the imminent birth of their first child when the attack takes place.   Their assailant is Annabelle, the crazed runaway daughter of the Gordon’s neighbours, who, with the help of her Manson-like associate, kills her parents before paying a visit on the Gordons.   The doll is unceremoniously dumped in the trash by John after it’s found in dead Sarah’s arms, but it mysteriously reappears in the couple’s belongings when they move to Pasadena immediately after Mia gives birth to baby daughter, Leah.    Instead of throwing it in the nearest river, Mia relents, and places Annabelle on a shelf in her new daughter’s nursery, and before you know it, all manner of strange occurrences are taking place.

Although it’s a fairly pedestrian horror movie, Annabelle can at least boast an unusual period setting for the genre, and wisely avoids putting us through that tiresome routine of having Mia’s loving husband doubting his wife’s state of mind when she starts insisting that something odd is going on.   The film does appear to be a little confused about the nature of the doll’s possession, though, because, apart from a brief spot of levitation, the actual doll doesn’t really do a lot.   Every now and then Sarah’s crazed and vengeful spirit appears to make known her intense disappointment at being dead, but as Annabelle is a 15 certificate, the bloodiest incident we see is probably Mia pricking her finger while operating a sewing machine.   So, without any recourse to graphic violence or gore, Annabelle aims to frighten us with a creepy atmosphere, but never really succeeds.   Apparently, a sequel is in the works, but on this evidence Chucky certainly doesn’t need to be looking over his shoulder.

(Reviewed 15th October 2016)





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