Film Review: Annabelle

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 21st October 2014.

If the formula for the very successful and mega spooky The Conjuring was quiet + quiet + bang = scare, then the formula for its prequel Annabelle goes like this: quiet + quiet + bang = yawn.

Certainly the breakout star from the original, it was pretty clear that the creepy possessed doll deserved a feature film of her own. Unfortunately, director John R. Leonetti, whose pedigree includes the dodgy sequels The Butterfly Effect 2 and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, has crafted a predictable second rate horror flick that telegraphs all of its scares and demystifies the demon doll with unnecessary backstory.

The Conjuring wisely featured Annabelle in a subplot rather than the main storyline. She was possessed. That’s it. This time around, we find out that her origins are linked to a Charles Manson like cult. During a killing spree, a drop of a dying cultist’s blood drops into the doll’s eye and voila, instant demonic possession. The killer also bled on the carpet. Is the shag pile also possessed?

I’m not spoiling anything. Everything I’ve just mentioned is in the trailer. In fact, it’s fine to arrive 30 minutes late for Annabelle. You won’t miss anything.

As our leads, Annabelle Wallis (yep, that’s her actual first name) and Ward Horton overact as if this movie is their big break. Wait, it is. The usually reliable Alfre Woodard (12 Years A Slave, Star Trek: First Contact) is wasted in a role that teases the audience with a possible intriguing end plot twist but then doesn’t.

If copious close-ups of a spooky doll’s porcelain face scare you, buy the poster. Once again, less is more. Avoid Annabelle, turn the lights off and watch The Conjuring again.

Published in: on October 19, 2014 at 12:44  Leave a Comment  
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