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Review: Annabelle

Annabelle
10.03.2014
3 10

PLOT: A young family, reeling from a violent attack, start experiencing strange phenomena after they buy a creepy doll that seems to have a life of its own.

REVIEW: THE CONJURING was one of those pleasant summer surprises, in that it was a deliberately old fashioned, extremely effective little thriller with an unapologetic R-rating and a top-flight cast. It had style and it had substance. One of the most memorable bits from the film involved a demonic doll, Annabelle, and with THE CONJURING grossing so much money, it’s no surprise that the studio has raced a cheap, quickie prequel into production to cash-in on its notoriety.

Annabelle doll

Suffice to say my expectations were low and that’s exactly what ANNABELLE merits. After a relatively decent start that features an inspired staging of a Charles Manson-style murder, ANNABELLE settles into your typical horror movie pattern. Director John R. Leonetti is mostly known for his work as a DP, having actually shot THE CONJURING (as well as both INSIDIOUS movies for James Wan). While he does a professional job as a director, he lacks the flair and imagination Wan brought to the original, and this feels like a quickly-made movie no one was terribly invested it.

It doesn’t help that the premise is so thin. There’s only so much you can do with a killer doll (which – it has to be said – was done much better by the CHILD’S PLAY movies). As such, most of the film revolves around demonic possession, getting a lot of mileage out of the period setting, with it being set at the same time as the Manson Family murders, as a kind of satanic panic set-in across the country. Focusing on a new mother, played by the striking Annabelle Wallis, a lot of horror beats are taken straight out of ROSEMARY’S BABY, including the creepy new apartment building with the spooky neighbors, the inattentive husband, etc. Otherwise, most of the scares are lifted out of THE CONJURING, with Joseph Bishara’s score using a lot of the creepy themes he used last time, with the memorable “jack-in-a-box” theme re-purposed as the tune played by the baby’s mobile.

Annabelle doll 2

Once it settles into its groove ANNABELLE gets especially repetitive, with them getting rid of the doll, it coming back, rinse, repeat, and so on. It’s very monotonous. While Wallis is an effective heroine, you can only be so convincing acting opposite a doll and actor Ward Horton is bland as her doctor-husband. To be fair, it’s a thinly written part. The only one who really comes off well is Alfre Woodard, who injects some heart into her part although Woodard is one of those pros who just can’t help but be good no matter how bad the movie is. Ed and Lorraine Warren are briefly name-checked, although neither Patrick Wilson nor Vera Farmiga cameo (although you do hear Wilson’s voice in a clip from the first film).

In the end, ANNABELLE is just another cheap studio horror flick designed to cash-in on opening weekend and then sink into obscurity. It’s too bad as THE CONJURING was the exact opposite – an A-level horror movie that was designed to build an audience. This is disposable horror and nothing more.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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10:31PM on 10/03/2014
Yup, sometimes you can tell that a film will end up being a gigantic piece of shit just by watching the trailer. This was a rotten looking cash grab from the get-go.
Yup, sometimes you can tell that a film will end up being a gigantic piece of shit just by watching the trailer. This was a rotten looking cash grab from the get-go.
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9:32PM on 10/03/2014
Honesty im surprised by how much you and John disliked annabelle...it wasn't so bad..in fact it was way better than 90% of horror flicks that come out. I agree with masterdebator 88 and score annabelle an easy 6/10 and maybe even a 7/10. It had some good scares, they didn't overuse the doll angle and i thought the story was pretty good and not too obvious...maybe im just a little bitch when it comes to demon/doll movies but i was pretty frightened throughout
Honesty im surprised by how much you and John disliked annabelle...it wasn't so bad..in fact it was way better than 90% of horror flicks that come out. I agree with masterdebator 88 and score annabelle an easy 6/10 and maybe even a 7/10. It had some good scares, they didn't overuse the doll angle and i thought the story was pretty good and not too obvious...maybe im just a little bitch when it comes to demon/doll movies but i was pretty frightened throughout
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11:53AM on 10/03/2014

For once I think this sites reviews are too low...

Annabelle isn't perfect, it isn't great and it isn't original. But what it is makes it an instant 6/10 and very watchable.

The atmosphere, the time era, the interesting moments and scares (one being ruined through previews of the girl running through the door but turning into an old witch once she crosses the threshold)

This is a decent movie. The horror elements are there, it isn't a shitty sequel in terms of Paranormal Activity and it has more going for it than shit like that Dracula
Annabelle isn't perfect, it isn't great and it isn't original. But what it is makes it an instant 6/10 and very watchable.

The atmosphere, the time era, the interesting moments and scares (one being ruined through previews of the girl running through the door but turning into an old witch once she crosses the threshold)

This is a decent movie. The horror elements are there, it isn't a shitty sequel in terms of Paranormal Activity and it has more going for it than shit like that Dracula movie that's also coming out soon.
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12:53PM on 10/03/2014
And for once you're over-rating a movie in our site comments! Can this be the final sign of the impending apocalypse? Tum, tum, tum!
And for once you're over-rating a movie in our site comments! Can this be the final sign of the impending apocalypse? Tum, tum, tum!
11:25AM on 10/03/2014
I knew it. I expected 5/10 but 3/10 is pretty much it.
I knew it. I expected 5/10 but 3/10 is pretty much it.
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10:39AM on 10/03/2014
How did they hire John R. Leonetti for this film? Did the studio completely forget he directed the masterpiece Mortal Kombat: Annihilation?
How did they hire John R. Leonetti for this film? Did the studio completely forget he directed the masterpiece Mortal Kombat: Annihilation?
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10:36AM on 10/03/2014
"itís no surprise that the studio has raced a cheap, quickie prequel into production to cash-in on its notoriety"

That's all this film was. Just a quick cash grab to piggy back off of the succes of The Conjuring. The film has it's moments, but the downfall was it's thin plot and characters who didn't really have enough depth for you to really care about them in any way.

With more story and maybe a better cast, this film could have been much more effective in it's ultimate goal.
"itís no surprise that the studio has raced a cheap, quickie prequel into production to cash-in on its notoriety"

That's all this film was. Just a quick cash grab to piggy back off of the succes of The Conjuring. The film has it's moments, but the downfall was it's thin plot and characters who didn't really have enough depth for you to really care about them in any way.

With more story and maybe a better cast, this film could have been much more effective in it's ultimate goal. Disappointing to say the least, considering I was really excited for this one.
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