Annabelle (2014) Movie Review

Director: John R Leonetti

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.

PerformancesAnnabelle 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.

StoryThe 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/MysteryThe 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.

SettingsThe 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 EffectsThe 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.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The husband doesn’t experience a thing.

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.

Annabelle (2014)

logoDirector: John R. Leonetti

Writer: Gary Dauberman (Screenplay)

Starring: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Tony Amendola, Alfre Woodard, Kerry O’Malley, Brain Howe, Eric Ladin, Ivar Brogger

 

Plot: A couple begins to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Another Demon Film

Story: Annabelle starts by telling us the part of the story that happened in ‘The Conjuring’ just to remind us about what we will be watching. We go back a year earlier Mia (Wallis) and John (Horton) are planning for their first child. We see early stages of tension between the couple and they both try to keep everything together. John happens to buy an Annabelle doll for their child, which I might add they don’t know whether it will be a boy or a girl, but they have way to many dolls if it turns out to be a boy.

The first night of having this creepy ass doll Mia hears screams coming from the house next door and the neighbours needing an ambulance. The incident leads to Mia getting stabbed and the two intruders who are part of a cult both die one from being shot the other suicide.  Luckily for the couple the baby is unharmed but Mia is ordered to stick to bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy.doll

The ordeal for the couple has only just starting when strange things start happening around the house, including the sewing machine turning itself on. Disposing of the doll because the suicide girl died holding it. Mia has the baby even though the house catches fire, but just in time for the couple of move for John’s new job. The couple have a baby girl Leah, good job they had all the dolls ready for a baby girl, but one doll made the trip that they didn’t want to, the Annabelle doll. It soon becomes apparent that whatever was haunting them at the old house is back but John doesn’t know what to make of Mia’s claims. Mia alone in the apartment overnight continues to get haunted by strange goings on, Mia must fight off whatever is after her and her baby before it is too late. Mia learns that she could be up against a demon that the cult that tried to kill her had summoned. Mia has to find a way to give the demon a soul to make it vanish once and for all.

Annabelle is the prequel to the good horror film ‘The Conjuring’ and it focuses on somewhat of a side note from that film with the creepy doll. The problem is that the doll is nothing but a creepy doll that just gets moved around by a demon. Nearly everything that happens is very generic for the genre right down to the characters decisions. We have the trademark priest falling to actually do anything to help. The idea does put the story into a real horror situation from the intruders to the possession which should really make this a much scarier film than we actually get. It just seems to take too long to really roll into the main side of the haunting especially as we already know about the doll. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

Annabelle Wallis: Mia loving wife and soon to be mother who gets attacked, but once she has the baby she continues to get haunted by a spirit demon who wants her baby. Annabelle does a solid job in the lead role but really struggles to make an impact when it comes to the legacy of a role like this. (6/10)

 mia

Ward Horton: John Gordon father and husband who spends most of the film at work leaving Mia to do all the work against the demons. Ward does what he can with what little he has to work with here. (4/10)

 

Support Cast: Annabelle has a supporting cast of people who try to help mainly the useless priest and a lady full of regret because of what happened to her own child. They offer the usual help without really doing much to the story.

Director Review: John R. Leonetti – John gives us a standard modern horror with easy jump scares instead of any tension building. (5/10)

 

Horror: Annabelle enters into the world of cheap jump scares that can be called well before they happen. (5/10)

Settings: Annabelle has most of the hauntings going on inside a house which brings the horror back home for the characters. (9/10)

Suggestion: Annabelle is one for the horror fans to try but don’t expect too much from it. (Horror Fans Try)

 

Best Part: Ghost attack changing age through a door.

Worst Part: Cheap jump scares.

Scariest Scene: Ghost changing age after running through a door.

 

Believability: it is said to be based on real events but it is up to you what you want to believe. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: It will have one.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $255 Million

Budget: $6.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

Overall: This really is a lacklustre prequel to one of the better recent horror films, it becomes lazy with its scares and turns into something we have seen before.

Rating 50