Movie review: Annabelle (2014)


Before ‘The Conjuring’, there was ‘Annabelle’. ‘Annabelle’ is a supernatural horror film directed by John R. Leonetti, produced by James Wan and written by Gary Dauberman that revolves on a doll that is believed to be haunted and had been terrifying a young married couple with their newborn baby. This film acts both as a prequel or a spin-off to the critical-acclaimed ‘The Conjuring’, a 2013 horror film that had its opening sequence introducing the doll but having the main plot not about it anymore.

Before starting my movie review, I have some movie trivias to share about this ‘Annabelle’ doll thing. The main actress in the film is also called Annabelle. And oohhh…This haunted doll exists (it’s real) and had its own true back story which had already been explained roughly in ‘The Conjuring’. It’s up to you whether to believe it or not. The real doll is now kept in a locked glass box in the Warren’s occult museum and it is blessed twice a month by priest. The real doll doesn’t look like the one portrayed in the film as the doll is actually an adorable Raggedy Ann doll. Due to copyright reason, James Wan had to design a new doll which would look far more evil for creepier and better outcome to his horror film. And there it goes…

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It looks really creepy, man! Perfect costume for this year’s upcoming Halloween. During the filming of ‘Annabelle’, there were also reports of two strange paranormal encounters by the crews. Hmm…mentioning all that already made me felt a bit chilly especially when I have just watched the film. The story sets a year before the event in ‘The Conjuring’, and tells us how the doll gets haunted or possessed by a demon and then slowly terrifying Mia through various strange happenings when she is alone at home most of the time. Her husband, John isn’t convinced in the beginning but later chose to believe. The way the story develops and its build-up is not bad. And I don’t mind that the film shows the doll very frequently which is being panned by some critics out there. Hey…the doll is the attention of the show and it’s very reasonable to give a bit more screen time for it. I can assure you that it’s already creepy by just looking at it without the need of it doing anything.

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Some were also disappointed that the doll didn’t get shown to move or talk like ‘Chucky’, a popular evil doll in the horror film franchise of the same name. I’m not into that opinion as I find that a doll that is shown doing nothing but resulted in many eerie encounters to the character is far more deadlier in ‘silent’ way. This doll is just meant for another approach unlike ‘Chucky’ and it delivers in its way too. This film also didn’t disappoint on giving us some good jump scares. Some said those scares are too typical, predictable, too old-school and cheaply made, but I’m fine as long as it managed to freak me out for that second or two as intended. The ending climax is also quite good but I’m actually hoping for a bit more of the ‘evilness’ that the doll can unleash before the end of the film.

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On the other hand, the casts delivered fair performances. The most outstanding one shall be Annabelle Wallis as Mia. I can truly felt the way she encountered those strange occurrences in her home which means that she performed her role well. But I have to stress that this is not the best acting for a horror film yet. I also like the ‘not-revealing-much’ and mysterious approach used to convey the film. Generally, this is a good horror film but could not match the greatness of ‘The Conjuring’ last year. ‘Annabelle’ film felt a bit ‘cheaper’, and somehow lacks a bit in craft. It isn’t as effective as ‘The Conjuring’ too. Nevertheless, this film still works out well as a horror film based on that creepy-looking ‘Annabelle’ doll and I’m sure this film will still be a hit eventhough it doesn’t perform for critics. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Annabelle’ a total of 7.0.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

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