Movie Review: Annabelle

I don’t go much for scary movies. And I go even less for ones with creepy dolls. So of course I reviewed Annabelle. Why not? For those of you that also don’t enjoy horror or scary dolls, Annabelle is the sequel/prequel to The Conjuring. In The Conjuring, a discussion is had about a doll Annabelle that terrorized the lives of two women. Annabelle tells the story of how the doll came to be.

Having not seen The Conjuring, I appreciated that I didn’t feel a lack of information or understanding.  At times with prequels, not seeing the original work creates a detriment to the film.  In this case, I was pleased to know that Annabelle’s presence in the first film was minute and I could enjoy (well enjoy is a strong word) the prequel.  The basic plot is a doll which becomes possessed by evil following a violent crime and the doll continues attempting to take an innocent soul.

My main argument against this film and most horror films if that I detest jump and scare tactics.  Give me a psychological horror any day.  A scary movie that looks deeply into one’s psychology while being aptly terrifying is a horror movie I will willingly watch.  But when horror movies are nothing but moments building up to something popping out of somewhere, it gets predictable and dull.  For this film, while I had never seen it before, I could easily anticipate when a scary moment was coming.  For my own health and safety, I knew when to look away to avoid jumping myself.  Even with that, I still had to watch something happy before I went to bed, because creepy dolls just stay with you that way.  Sometimes I loathe having an overactive imagination.

So what is it with dolls?  I mean seriously.  Anyone who starts a horror movie liking dolls or collecting dolls, you just know is screwed.  Annabelle may be the evil doll in this film, but all the other dolls are just as creepy.  I just imagined Annabelle possessing all the dolls in the room and seeing their tiny porcelain arms ripping people apart.  The main character Mia even grabs a doll at one point believing it is her daughter and the doll starts laughing maniacally.  My own grandmother collects porcelain dolls and has given some to me to keep.  I’m not one for dolls because even as a logical adult I am waiting for them to rip themselves from their boxes, climb up from the basement, and murder me in my sleep.

Annabelle Wallis and Ward Horton in Annabelle

While this film is predictable in its formulaic nature, the acting is quite delightful.  Husband and wife John and Mia Gordon are played by Ward Horton and Annabelle Wallis.  I find it hysterical that a woman named Annabelle plays the main character in a horror movie called Annabelle and the name is for the evil doll.  In any case, Annabelle Wallis does a fantastic job as Mia.  Her terror is palpable.  Tony Amendola and Alfre Woodard are excellent supporting cast as a priest and bookstore owner trying to help the couple survive this nightmare.

Overall while I was not crazy about the predictability of the jumpiness or the creepy doll, the great acting made this a decent watch.  It will probably give you nightmares if you have an active imagination such as myself.  I should probably go take care of those dolls downstairs before they kill me.

You need to decide if Annabelle is for you.  It debuts Sunday, February 07 at 9:00pm on HBO.


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