I watched Annabelle (2014) for the first time on Blu-Ray. I did not go to see this in the theaters. I feel that the film didn't do what it was meant to do, which is scare and interest me. It is a big let-down after The Conjuring (2013). However, I did like the set designs and the extras that are on the Blu-Ray. I also like the design of the doll, but I knew that after seeing her in The Conjuring. I cannot imagine anyone picking up that doll and saying, yeah, this is adorable, just what I want to have in my home and in my baby's room. Then again, I think that about most dolls that I've seen. I can guarantee that I will never have a room full of creepy dolls, nor will I go into one if someone has one in their home. I don't like how they stare blankly into space and smile. The choice for Annabelle's appearance is much better and harder to look at than a big Raggedy Ann doll, which is what the real Annabelle doll is. Here are reasons why I don't consider Annabelle to be that scary of a film:
The problem with Annabelle is that it basically goes no where. It tried to be scary with the satanic cult involvement in the beginning, which it was only using to give a reason to how Annabelle became possessed. Cults are frightening in general and I am still very freaked out by what I read in Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry regarding the Manson Murders. The book provides true facts about how Manson was as a person and successfully brainwashed a bunch of people into following his ways. He convinced some that he was, in fact, Jesus Christ. Each person he brought into his ways was emotionally damaged and desperate for a way to feel that he or she belonged somewhere. He knew just what to say to people to make them feel special and like they belonged in his world, then he would use drugs and sex to increase his power over them.
They showed a clip of Manson at the beginning, but it didn't provide much of a backstory of how incredibly messed up his cult was. Also, the Manson Murders didn't go directly from one house to the next in the same day. They made sure to do them in different areas, with hopes that a different race would be blamed for the murders instead. The attack in the movie was trying to be like the Sharon Tate murder. It's hard to believe that anyone would attempt to murder a pregnant woman by stabbing her in her belly when she is so far along, but it sadly did happen. They obviously didn't go that far with the stabbing in the attempted murder scene in Annabelle. They showed one belly stab and then writing on the wall with blood. The scene was too rushed, which lessened its shock and scare factor. I also think that the reasoning behind Annabelle's possession should have been more than just a crazy cult follower dying and dripping blood into the doll's eye in order to transfer her evil soul into it.
Annabelle could have been much scarier if it connected itself more to what seemed to happen with the real Annabelle story. Apparently, the doll was possessed by a demon impersonating a little girl named Annabelle Higgins, who died when she was only seven years old after being hit by a car outside of her home. The Changeling (1980) is so scary because it focuses on the malevolent spirit of a young boy who was murdered by his father. The boy's spirit is enraged by his murder and makes it well known that he wants revenge for it, since no one but his father knew that he was murdered. Why not have the little girl spirit possess the doll to get revenge for someone not watching her or not caring about her or being killed by a hit-and-run? It would have been scarier and the involvement with the little girl would have made it more disturbing and true to the 'true' story behind the doll.
I found a video of the Warrens talking a bit about the real Annabelle, who currently is being contained in their Occult Museum. Ed died back in 2006, but Lorraine is still alive and investigating the paranormal. The real doll allegedly had the ability to move around on its own, as well as write notes. Ed accused the doll of murdering a man who told her to do her worst to him while he was viewing her in the museum. The information about Annabelle doesn't start until the 8:45 mark.
Annabelle does not scare me as much as Robert the doll. He's on a whole different level of creepiness and is said to be the influence of Chucky from Child's Play (1988). Robert is the scariest doll I've ever seen a picture of and his story is incredibly disturbing. He scares me a hell of a lot more than Chucky and Annabelle combined. There is no way that I'm going anywhere near this doll. I found a documentary about him:
Doesn't compare to other Horror genre influential films
I noticed that Annabelle attempted to give homage to Repulsion (1965) and Rosemary's Baby (1968), which are both Roman Polanski films (Sharon Tate was Polanski's wife during the time of her murder). It seemed like they were trying to have Mia be similar to both Carol from Repulsion and Rosemary Woodhouse from Rosemary's Baby. In both of these films, the female is experiencing horrific events. Carol's aren't exactly legit because she's just going mad. Rosemary's, on the other hand, are legit because she is treated like she's going mad when she is the only sane one and is being messed with by a Satanic cult. The way they had Mia going around the apartment and other areas reminded me of Repulsion.
Rosemary is played by Mia Farrow, so that's another tie to Rosemary's Baby. I was kind of hoping the husband was going to be a creep like Rosemary's husband, Guy. Guy purposely acted like Rosemary was nuts because he had willingly given up her womb to hold the son of Satan, just so he could get ahead with his acting career. Can you imagine how messed up it would have been if Mia's husband knew the doll was possessed and purposely gave it to her for some sort of hidden agenda? It's too bad that they couldn't incorporate the influences more powerfully because then the movie would have probably improved tremendously. If you're looking for some intense psychological horror, then I suggest checking out both Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby in the future. They will definitely scare you more than Annabelle.