WHILE IT HAS ITS MOMENTS, IT LACKS THE SUSPENSE AND CLEVER PLOT TWISTS OF THE CONJURING AND OFFERS VERY FEW SCARES!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: D (2 stars). NEW LINE CINEMA
Cinematographer John R. Leonetti has worked on many wonderful films over the many years, he worked on films such as The Mask, Mortal Kombat, and most recently the 2013 horror hit, The Conjuring. He certainly has an artistic and creative mind…as a cinematographer. Unfortunately he also directed Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, The Butterfly Effect 2, and most recently a prequel to The Conjuring about the iconic possessed doll named Annabelle.
To the film’s credit, [Annabelle](movie:1217914) does have a creepy atmosphere that’s similar to The Conjuring and it does have a few creative scares in there. Unfortunately it’s not enough to save the movie from its half-ass plot, predictable scares, obvious twists, and unintentionally funny and over the top moments, you know what’s scarier than a creative and cleverly frightening horror movie? When it gets a sequel or prequel with only half the effort put into it, and it really shows here in Annabelle.
The film begins with a lazy re-hash of the opening from The Conjuring and already you can tell how lazy and desperate the film is and it only just started, but I digress. Anyway, the film is about a married couple named John and Mia Form (Ward Horton and Annabelle Wallis-X-Men: First Class, Pan Am) living happily in the safety and comfort of good old suburbia and Mia is pregnant with their baby girl who they decide to name Lia.
At first everything is going great for them; that is until John brings in a creepy old doll into the house that Mia has been looking for. Shortly afterwards they start experiencing all these supernatural terrors, murders, and a creepy young girl who “Likes their doll!”
So Mia and John, with the help of a bookstore owner (Alfre Woodard-K-Pax, The Forgotten) and a Catholic priest (Tony Amendola-Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, The Mask of Zorro, Once Upon a Time) must find a way to stop the demons before they take over their baby, and they assume that the doll is responsible for all the terror.
Overall, Annabelle has a few creative scares but for the most part they are tiresome, cliché, and predictable and it lacks almost everything that made The Conjuring so chilling. The film has way too many quiet moments when there should be something scary happening, but it focuses too heavily on the married couple and their baby.
Another problem I have is that there are too many scary shots of the doll and yet nothing happens, what was the point of that, to build suspense? Well, it’s not working very well, take a look at The Conjuring, the pacing, silence, and suspense for the most part were executed perfectly and the movie kept the audience guessing until the climax, that’s how you do it.
Here it just feels almost like a cheap remake of The Conjuring without the original cast or creativity put into it. Thankfully it’s not as bad as The Haunting or The Wicker Man remakes, but compared to the original Conjuring, this is a pretty disappointing way to follow it up, hopefully The Conjuring 2 will be better, but as of right now, just stick with the original this Halloween, it’s more scary and also more entertaining to watch.