I experienced Annabelle opening night, and overall the film was entertaining. James Wan has the talent of giving all his work an eerie, creepy feel. And partnering with John Leonetti made Annabelle’s tone extremely creepy. It started off just like The Conjuring's opening scene featuring the three roommates. This moment took place just a year after Annabelle was discovered.
The film’s use of Charles Manson in the beginning was very effective in displaying the time of the film, and just how outrageous the “cults” were back then. The first incident was terrifying because of how realistic it was. However that happens to be the only realistic terror from this film.
As the film continued it seemed to slow down a little, which as a stylistic choice worked and didn’t. The built tension was there, but sometimes it left the audience slightly bored. As the storyline unfolded Annabelle’s actual physical appearance worsened, making her even creepier. However her attacks were not as vicious as her appearance.
Annabelle‘s major downfall is it was too predictable. Also James Wan’s style was influencing the film so heavily that I couldn’t tell if I was watching Annabelle or Insidious during some scenes. There was an exact scare from Insidious in the film. And the demon from Annabelle was extremely similar to the Fire-Face demon from Insidious. The only differences between the two were the color of their skin. The demon from Insidious was red with black accents, while the demon from Annabelle was black.
However the way the demon was introduced and then used within the film happened to be the only real jump scares in the film. The movement of the camera as well happened to be extremely distracting. Anytime the camera moves without intention it immediately reminds the audience they’re watching a film through the camera lens. There were some moments that the camera movement definitely carried along the film and created suspense effectively.
The terror factor of this film was low. However the film was creepy and at sometimes intense. I recommend seeing the film in theaters simply because seeing the film on a smaller screen will convey silliness if you’ve never seen it before. Annabelle needs the huge screen, and loud surround system to convey the tone and fear intentions of the film.
I really commend Wan on his work. He has one of the most noticeable styles in the horror genre. It’s extremely hard to form a style, secure it, and then capitalize on it. Then to partner with Leonetti and always seem to gel style and tone wise is something else.
I personally enjoyed the film. I would not consider it better or scarier than The Conjuring. And it definitely wasn’t James Wan’s best work. As Annabelle reviews pour in, it's evident that you either loved this film, or hated it. I personally think it served its purpose because even though I wasn’t afraid in the theaters. I definitely had a nightmare about Annabelle Higgins sacrificing me. Check Annabelle out in theaters now.