Sunday, October 5, 2014


Annabelle Higgins runs away from home and joins a Satanic cult. She comes back with her fellow cult member boyfriend to murder her parents and terrorize the married couple next door, before taking her own life while clutching one of their dolls. John (Ward Horton) and Mia (Annabelle Wallis) survive the ordeal and later welcome their newborn daughter Lea to the world. Unfortunately, the horror does not end with the home invasion drama they have experienced; in fact, it has just begun. Annabelle begins her supernatural mischief with something as harmless as turning on the sewing machine in the wee hours of the morning, but ultimately ends up upping the ante by overcooking popcorn which causes a kitchen fire. The couple decides to move house, but to no avail. Help comes in the form of bookshop owner Evelyn (Alfre Woodard) who explains to Mia that what they might be experiencing is not a simple case of ghost haunting, but rather something more supernaturally perverse which could claim the life of their innocent child.

First of all, why would you give your wife a doll like that? It has horror plastered all over its face. Perhaps some people just do like collecting weird stuff? In any case, the doll is the main focus of this film, and it does a good job by being, well, inanimate. This could be the very strength of this movie. Had this been a cheap horror flick, that doll would be expected to provide the much necessary horror by moving around or making ugly faces through cringe-inducing CGI. This simply does not happen in Annabelle, or maybe just once. The director relies more on frequent close up shots of the doll itself, in various states of catatonia, which is how a doll should be. Terror is induced with the help of top notch sound effects, while the few scenes laden with computer graphics are either done in the dark or quick enough to be forgivable.

Acting is not really that important in horror flicks like this. If your lead characters scream well and are telegenic enough, then you already have a good formula for winning in the box office. As for this movie, though, Woodard’s presence is indeed appreciated and there are a couple of scenes where she shines as far as acting is concerned, which is perhaps a good thing because she is just a supporting character here after all. Horton does not have much to do given how much of the torture is shouldered by Mia, who is played just fine by Wallis. Again, the star of the show is Annabelle and she does not let the other actors hog her spotlight despite being inanimate most of the time.

And so the question, will it frighten you more than The Conjuring did? YES, and not without reason. While The Conjuring presented some of the best scares for a contemporary horror flick, the fact of the matter is that it is focused more on the Warren couple, who are renowned for battling the supernatural face to face. As such, you have the convenience of believing that they would know how to survive such paranormal ordeals. The Warren couple does not make an appearance in this film, which makes it a lot more stressful to watch because there simply is no guidance coming from an authoritative figure expected to save the day, except maybe for Evelyn who does help in her own little way. This is why Annabelle would keep you on the edge of your seat, because you just do not know what is going to happen next or how things would eventually be resolved.

There is no big cliffhanger involved in the ending, given how we already know how everything would unfold in The Conjuring. If anything, Annabelle provides a good introduction for the doll which made its presence felt in the said 2013 box office hit.

2 creature(s) gave a damn:

Ian | GoingRoamingWandering said...

I enjoyed reading your review of Annabelle. Hope to watch it this week.

ihcahieh said...

Thanks Ian, hopefully you don't get disappointed. The movie has received mixed reviews so far.

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