Writer: Gary Dauberman (Screenplay)
Starring: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Tony Amendola, Alfre Woodard, Kerry O’Malley, Brian Howe, Eric Ladin
Plot: A couple begins to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists.
Tagline – Before The Conjuring there was Annabelle
Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Standard Horror
Story: Annabelle starts when Mia (Wallis) and John (Horton) look to start their family with a baby due any day, one final present is the doll we know as Annabelle to complete a collection, one terrifying night Mia and John only just make it out alive after a couple of cult members attack them, dying in the house, one clutching the doll.
Once the baby arrives they move to Pasadena to help follow John’s career and to hopefully start once again, only for the doll they thought they had dumped to follow them there, which soon leads to unexplained events happening around their new apartment.
Thoughts on Annabelle
Characters – Mia is the wife and soon-to-be mother who hears the screams next door which leads to the invasion from the cult visitors, barely surviving a stab wound to the chest, needing to move away from the home where this happens with her first child, she finds herself still haunted by the evil of that night, needing to find the answers to the demon that is trying to take her daughter’s soul. John is the doctor husband of Mia, he will support his wife, only to never experience the horrors himself, he is always just out of reach of the demon haunting Mia. Father Perez is the one that comes to offer support, not just with getting through the traumatic events, but dealing with the demon that has starts following them. Evelyn is the local woman that befriends Mia through her move to the new city, she has her own story that she is willing to share with somebody in need.
Performances – Annabelle Wallis in the leading role is the highlight of the performances, this is mostly because she has the most to do, with her fear both before and after having the baby coming through strong. Ward Horton doesn’t do anything wrong, it is hard to bring the pretty blank character to life, while Tony Amendola and Alfre Woodard do all they can in the supporting roles.
Story – The story here follows the first encounter with the Annabelle doll, we see one family getting haunted as the evil surrounding the doll is looking to take the soul of their baby. Annabelle was one of the most famous parts of the Warren’s artefact room, it is known as being the most powerful, which is why it is interesting to see how it first came about being evil. Seeing the family slowly getting haunting, mostly if not all the mother figure does follow the trait of every single horror movie where the family gets haunted, with the father figure barely experiencing a thing. It is a routine jump scare set up movie, only giving us time to explore the world around it over time, with needing to make the biggest deal with the research side of the haunting. It is an easy watch though which is always good enough for the horror audience to experience.
Horror/Mystery – The horror in this film is mostly slowly built up jump scares, we have one that is a true stand out, with the door being run at, but after a while you know when each one will happen, with the mystery side of the film almost being tagged on to fill gaps.
Settings – The film does the clever horror location trick of moving the family to stop it being just a ghost haunting film, instead moving it to the demon that is haunting the family, thought it does seem to want to be Rosemary’s Baby with the location choice.
Special Effects – The effects are strong with most looking more practical than CGI, with how the demon looks, when we get small glimpses of it.
Scene of the Movie – The little girl running at the door.
Final Thoughts – This is a nice simple by the book horror that doesn’t do a thing wrong, despite being formulaic with how everything unfolds.
Overall: Formulaic Horror.