Annabelle is the spin-off and quasi-prequel of The Conjuring. Unless you happen to be terrified of dolls and predictable plots, this movie will not scare you much. There are moments that are shot well but they don’t make this movie anything beyond rent worthy. It is pretty puzzling how a movie like this even gets made. Was anyone asking for a story about the demonic doll from The Conjuring?
Annabelle takes place in the 1970s with Mia and Ward Gordon, a young couple who are expecting their first baby. They are attacked one night by a pair of insane satanic cultist for no reason other than that they happen to be home. The cultists are killed, but not before one of them draws a symbol in blood and bleeds all over the creepy Annabelle doll. This makes the doll an anchor for the devil and causes all sorts of problems for the young couple.
The acting is pretty good. Annabelle Wallis plays Mia Gordon, the young mother who is tormented by the demon. She seems to at least be trying her best to make this silly material seem realistic. The best thing the film has going for it are the small scares that sometimes work. For example, there are clever cutaways and quick jumps in editing that really work to this movie’s advantage. What this movie lacks in originality, it makes up for in creating a creepy atmosphere.
Annabelle is not a very scary movie. At its worst it feels lazy and clichéd. There are so many movies that have done the “haunted family” better. It might have been interesting if it took risks, but it played it safe. The whole film was a set up of the story, so that you pretty much know the family will be safe and all will be well. The demon doesn’t even kill anyone- he just scares folks like a jerk.
The film is worth a rental if you are fan of The Conjuring. If you are looking for a scary movie then try something else. At its core, Annabelle is just another disappointing horror cash-in. Perhaps the writers should have put more care into the script. If only more horror movies rolled the dice and took chances with scripts that were bold and new.